Log in

Previous 10

Nov. 29th, 2011


The 2011 Fatso.co.nz 24-Hour Movie Marathon Report, Part 1





It’s that time of the year once more. In fact, it’s actually a bit AFTER “That time of the year” this year, as the 2011 24-Hour Movie Marathon is screening in mid-November for the first time in ages. (Clashes with the Armageddon Pop Culture Expo would have seen a Halloween showing somewhat light on it’s usual compliment of geeks.) I can’t speak for the other geeks, but Ants later scheduling has had one significant effect for me personally.

It means I can go.

You see, in the last week of October, I woke up with a bellyache I attributed to too much good food and excellent Pinot Noir over the weekend. (Yep, I’m still a wine-pusher by trade, with plenty of staff-buying privileges.) The next day it was still there. That night, my just-turned-three-and-gained-an-attitude son Aiden was having a case of the grumpies. As I tried to get him into his P.J’s, he kicked out, catching me right in the side.

I was down at White Cross Medical half an hour later. Fuck, that hurt.

By 9:30 I was in North Shore Hospital, and by 11am the next day I was lighter by one appendix. I spent a day in bed doing crossword puzzles and confirming that yes, hospital food sucks, the gowns are apparently designed for holding small circuses underneath, and the TV’s in the patients lounge are always 40 years old and show nothing by orange-tinted TV1. A week off work followed, although I felt fine by day three. I have a gnarly scar to show for it, after keyhole surgery evolved into a full-on belly-slicing to get the thing out. (3 centimetres long, with bruising that even impressed two surgeons… one of whom does full transplant operations.)

If Ant hadn’t pushed the show back, I potentially would have been the first Marathoneer (that I know of) to leave the Hollywood in an ambulance. Nice timing, dude.

Apart from that, the build-up has been smooth as butter. A new sponsor has come on board, with online DVD rental company Fatso.com.nz getting naming rights. (Making my CD’s mislabelled for the first time, as Ant had said Vendetta Films was naming rights sponsor for at least two years. Never mind, I’d never have fit the whole title on the disc.)

The show has once again sold out, with Ant instituting a tiered pricing structure so beanbag seats can go to those who want to pay a premium. As usual, I had to send the “No credit card, Ant HEEELLPPP!” e-mail off. (What can I say, I just honestly can’t trust myself with one for those things.) Ant has me covered, and is getting his usual wine bribe as a thank you. One of these days I need to find out if he actually DRINKS wine, methinks. I hope he does, it’s my 10th show, so he’s getting a six-pack of kickass vino, including a fifty-buck Chardonnay from my weekend job  at Matua Valley. (Hey, if the ticket prices keep going up, I have to up the booze to keep up!)

2011 also has the earliest kick-off time of any show to date, beginning at 2:30PM. While this gives a lot more sleep time before Monday rolls around, it is probably going to make the long haul to breakfast pretty challenging this year. As is only good and right. He’s also telling us to turn up at 2PM, no earlier. Hope his seating system is well-arranged, or his promised “record-breaking” line-up will be a SNAFU right from the get-go. To prevent the usual breakfast logjam, Ant has arranged for a new café, Salvation to do a breakfast AND dinner delivery run. This should prevent attendees from having to brave Avondale’s less-than-A-Rated takeaway joints for sustenance.

The usual B-Movie Crew suspects are all lined up to attend, and happily my former workmate and fellow soundtrack junkie Darren Waugh gets to make his first Marathon. (After having to pull out at the last minute in 2010). Darren and long-time Marathon attendee Glenn Blomfield have become regulars at my “Friday Flicks”, a bi-monthly themed movie night, which replaced my randomly scheduled “Bad Movie Afternoons” this year. On our last Friday Flicks before the show we ran 12 hours of previously-seen-at-the-‘Thon films, getting through six features and my first rewatch of THE LEMONGROVE KIDS MEET THE GREEN GRASSHOPPER AND THE VAMPIRE LADY since 2002. It’s still bonkers fun. I also subjected the Crew to EVILS OF THE NIGHT, proving that Bryan is still one of the least-effective Designated Heroes of all-time.

The semi-official Marathon Mixtape took shape by June, blowing out to the second double-disc set in a row. The first disc is my “Mature” mix, being less bombastic and cheesy than some years. (Despite the presence of “Snack Attack” from RAPPIN”.) The second disc is chock-full of 80’s cheese, from ST ELMO’S FIRE to XANADU. I finally found space to slot in “Cry Little Sister” from THE LOST BOYS after cutting in two years in a row due to timing issues. The disc came together perfectly after Steve Austin proved his soundtrack-fu by knowing the name of “Funky Fanfare”, which I only knew as the “Coming Attractions/And Now Our Feature Presentation” music from grindhouse history. It kicks off Disc 2 beautifully. A limited edition of just seventeen copies are currently in my bag, after giving a few of the Crew theirs in advance .

Also in the Tardis bag are my Geek-Shirts… I finally retired the V pyjamas, which are staring to show their age. (Much like myself, I suppose.) This year I have my 10th anniversary Marathon shirt, my bright red Incredible TV shirt and just for kicks, my beat-to-shit “Vote for Captain Spalding” shirt I had made in 2006. The transfer has flaked off in dozens of places, making Sid Haig look like a rejected character from SILENT HILL. I think it’ll get an airing around 2AM.

Apart from that, I’m packing light. A sandwich for dinner, perhaps some breakfast cereal for the 4AM munchies, notebook, pen, torch and a pack of mini Dark Chocolate Peppermint Slabs.  Okay, half a pack. A third. Damn you Whittakers, stop putting crack in these things. (Oh, you don’t? Not as addictive as your chocolate, you say? Gotcha.)

NOVEMBER 19th, 2011.


As usual with a pre-schooler, the ideal Marathon regime of an early night, a sleep-in and a leisurely morning was never going to happen. Instead I crashed at 1am the night before, not actually getting any shut-eye until close to 2 in the morning. A.C rolled out of bed at 7:15. It was going to be a long day. On the plus side, Aiden stumbled across one of his cousins old Teletubbies VHS tapes recently, and now wants to watch them the moment he wakes up. I fired it up and got 45 minutes extra kip while he happily watched those blobby little mutants fart around in Teletubbyland.

Darren W. showed up at my place around ten-ish. Being a Marathon newbie, I’d offered to let him park up at our house and hook a lift to Avondale. I’d also promised to show him MIRACLE MILE, the fantastic finale film from my first Marathon back in ’02 as a warm-up. He’s suddenly a fan, I have to report. Both being soundtrack junkies, I’m sure he liked the Tangerine Dream score as well. This soundtrack has been this years’ “Holy Grail” track on the disc, as I’ve been looking for it for NINE YEARS! Long out-of-print, the only CD copy I could find online was a Japanese edition, being sold on E-Bay for ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-NINE DOLLARS! U.S dollars, at that. Thankfully a I stumbled across a good quality rip a few months before the show. Yes, I’m a filthy criminal. And at US$149 for a  fucking CD, an unrepentant one.

We watched L.A go to hell in hand basket until mid-day before having our last decent meal for a day or so. Dawn had also trialled a new recipe for a “Cranberry and Date Breakfast Oat Loaf. I hacked off a lump of this to get me through the 3am Munchies. It did fine job of keeping me fed until breakfast. My mum arrived to look after Captain Whingypants at one, allowing us to stuff our gear into the back of the Nissan and hit the road. No texts were required, as I reminded myself that “IT’S THE MOTORWAY, STUPID!” as to the quickest route. Ant’s last e-mail had asked people in the beanbag section to turn up at 2pm, NO EARLIER! Somehow I knew this was going to get somewhat ignored by the regulars.

Sure enough, as we hit Avondale’s main drag at 1:30pm, the queue had already started to form. It was definitely shorter this year, and Darren and I joined it about 4 or 5 doors down from the Hollywood. Most of the beanbag ticket holders were up the front of the line, but being a comp I thought I may as well hang back, not being 100% sure if I was even IN the beanbag section. (Thanks to my workmate Tracey for the loan of the beanbag. Her cat will not be impressed, as it’s his favourite napping spot.)

I spotted Ant pretty quick, and confirmed that yes, he DID drink wine. My bribe was therefore gratefully accepted. (I also slipped a Marathon Mix CD into the box. Hope he found it.)  Long-time attendee Dave Brough found me in the line and snagged his CD’s straight away as always. Steve Chow showed up right afterwards. He though he’d have to bail early this year, due to family commitments on the Sunday. Al from the Motion Hybrid Pictures crew had returned this year as well.

Pretty soon, all of the crew (plus regulars Kirsten T, Darren G and David Stuckey, who actually remember my password… “Nilbog”) had their discs, along with Dave from Wellington who I chatted with in the line. He gave me a bit of an ego boost by recognising my nickname from these reviews, telling me he re-read them to “get into the Marathon mood” each year. Along with a couple of people saying the same things about my CD’s, I was pretty chuffed to get positive feedback on the gargantuan essays. I’m not just amusing myself, it seems.

The doors opened a little after 2, as promised. Ant’s system worked nicely, and I got shunted to the head of the line after the first wave of bean-baggers had been processed. Our “ticket” this year was an ice-cream stick, in varying shades and colours. Ant told us not to lose it, making us assume it was for a contest later in the night.

It wasn’t. I still have it on my desk. Mine was yellow.

As with 2010, I stowed my beanbag in a Skeeter-sized gap near the front. I was at Doug D’s feet, ensuring he’d spend half the night hearing whispered puns and hopefully-amusing observations. Next to me was a new face, Kirsty from the U.K. She’d been to an 18-hour marathon in Leeds, but was about to face her first 24-hour affair. And her first experience with my sense of humour. She coped admirably, and didn’t attempt to bottle me at any stage of the night.  I also made the acquaintance of two first-timers, who won their seats via Ant’s “Public Service Announcement” video-making contest. They handled being in Geek Central very well, making it all the way to the end of the show. See you two next year, I hope!

After securing the beanbag possie, I staked out the front row of the stalls for the seats-only Crew. (Cherie, Darren W, Ant T and Steve Chow, who now claims the last seats of the row for maximum legroom. Smart boy. I originally chose… poorly.) I distributed the final CD’s, making sure Andrew Todd and Steve Austin (Who works for Fatso) got copies. The last couple went to random people I met in the aisle, as always.

At 2:30, Margaret arose from the Wurlitzer it to perform her now-traditional pre-show mini-concert. (With the STAR WARS theme getting another airing to pop the crowd.) Ant was on stage at the stroke of 3pm to deliver a much-more… restrained intro than last year. (i.e. less threats of physical violence and cell-phone destruction.) The new Rule #1 seems to be “Respect Those Around You”, and I for one think that’s way it should be, cutting out the chatters and texters, while still allowing the private punslingers and gag-merchants a chance to rip on the true trash flicks without getting punched out. The result was pretty much perfect, with exactly one person being scolded for a cell phone-related infractions and a couple of well-placed public interjections during mid-movie contests and technical malfunctions.

We may have found our happy medium folks!

Ant announced that Fatso had provided a few DVD’s for giveaways… about 700 or so! As the night wore on, it became obvious that about 100 or so of those discs were THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, for reasons as yet unclear. I think a quarter of the people there ended up with a copy of the flick by the end of the night, making me wonder if Ken Russell had exploded in the auditorium while I wasn’t looking.

Some of the prize discs were distributed by Ant’s tried-and-tested method of “Flinging them into the audience” during the night. A new twist was seen this year, as at one stage, the lights went down for the upcoming flick in mid-fling. I guess we’ve graduated to “X-Treme DVD Giveaways” now. No head injuries were reported.

And so at 3:05 or thereabouts, the lights went out, the curtains swept aside, and the Longest Day began once more.

PART 1-Holy shit, meat really IS murder!




We’ve got cows!

Yes, listen to the sound of happy little moo-cows on the soundtrack. Must be set on a farm or something... oh, crap, we just faded up in a slaughterhouse. Run, cows, run!

Mmm… hamburger!

Yes, for the first few fun-filled minutes of PRIME CUT, we get to watch a working abattoir turn steers into steak, sausage and prime rib. I’m now really glad I didn’t order the pulled pork sandwich Salvation was offering for dinner. A cast list followed, getting big pops from the crowd for the A-List 70’s trio of Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman and Sissy Spacek.

And then the audio went out.

It was back a minute or so later. It was pretty early for a technical glitch, but after the speaker-go-boom of last year, at least it was a minor flub. And for the rest of the show that’s about as bad as it got. Three or four more audio glitches, wobbles and patches of dead air were all we heard. And not a mis-placed reel in the whole night. (Although our pre-breakfast sure FELT like it was out of order to me at least. More on that later) Ant did imply that the same flick he wanted to break our brains with in 2010 died on the reels again this year, however. Third time’s the charm, Ant… bring that shit on in 2012!

But back to the movie in hand… PRIME CUT. This is a Lee Marvin/Gene Hackman/ gangster flick from 1972, featuring Sissy Spacek in her (credited) feature film debut. It sets the scene early as our opening credits also demonstrate the industry standard method for turning a rival mobster into a string of barbeque-ready snarlers, ready for delivery to the Mob Boss of your choice. Yep, don’t expect too many squealing-tyre car chases through Chicago or San Francisco in this flick… we’re heading to Americas home of  wheat, cattle and the white slave trade, Kansas!

Lee Marvin is Nick Devlin, the Chicago mobs semi-retired enforcer, mobilised to head out to the heartland of the U.S, recoup a half-million dollar debt and basically raise a little ruckus. On the other side of the coin is Gene Hackman, playing the oddly-named “Mary Ann”. Must be a Kansas thing. He’s a good ol’ boy, raising cattle, eatin’ offal-based dinners that look like someone’s already eaten them, and of course, drugging and selling nubile young ladies into slavery. Again, I think it’s a Kansas thing. (In fact, the elevating levels of wrongness in this film did lead me to scrawl the words “What the fuck is wrong with Kansas?” in my notes.)

Devlin and his trio of fellow mobsters (Including the chauffeur you REALLY don’t want to cut off in traffic) are of course Irish to the core, leading me to mentally dub them “The Mick Squad”. They quickly hunt down Mary Ann’s hulking brother Weenie, who lives in the scungiest-looking hotel ever put on film. Seriously, even the cockroaches living the walls of the house next door are petitioning the owners to have it bulldozed. Weenie is played by Gregory Walcott, who played the square-jawed male lead of PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE, yet somehow managed to still have a career in movies and TV all the way into the mid-90’s. Mainly playing cowboys and cops, according to him IMDB page.

Lee Marvin delivers a message to Weenie through the medium of Advanced Physical Violence,  proving pretty quickly that a near 50-year-old man can be a bad SOB. Doubly so when they’re.. well, Lee Marvin. Lee also pointedly refuses to carry a gun at the start of the flick, despite a briefcase full of armaments being in the Mick Squads possession. Hmm, I wonder if we’ll be seeing those again later in the film? (Or will Lee just bust out some inexplicable kung-fu… it is 1972, after all!)

Busting in on Mary Ann’s combined barbeque and slave auctions, Lee helps himself to a sample of the merchandise in the form of Poppy. Poppy is played by Sissy Spacek, at her youngest and most doe-eyed. She also appears naked in her first scene, which is kind of par for the course for 1970’s Sissy. The only other featured white slave is her friend Violet, who suffers from an unfortunate case of Elijah Woodface Syndrome. Seriously, if Frodo was a cross-dressing milkmaid, he’d be Violet.

Devlin proceeds to make me question Kansas collective sanity once again by having his boys carry (Carry, Carrie… see what I did there? *crickets* Fine, please yourself.) a blanket-draped Poppy through the lobby of an upmarket K.C hotel. Not a lot of upraised eyebrow, although I guess discretion is the sign of a good hotel. Devlin proceeds to play the suave benefactor, getting Poppy well-dressed (if somehow neglecting to buy her a bra. This lead to the first of the Running Themes of the night, NIPPLES!) and  wining and dining her. He also got a great laugh by destroying the ego of a perving fellow diner by eye-boinking the dudes wife. (Lee’s eye acting spent most of the movie in a duel to the death with Mary Ann shit-eating grin. It was declared a draw.)

The wrongness levels start to elevate as Poppy fills in some back-story about Mary Ann White Chicks Emporium. She tells him the girls are farmed out (*rimshot*) from an orphanage, and goes into SLIGHTLY too much info about her relationship with Violet. Fortunately, the line I heard as “She was my sister” was actually “She was LIKE my sister”, meaning the implied incest was only in my head. This is where  I underlined the phrase “What the fuck is wrong with Kansas?”, I should add. Later as Weenie borrows a dress belonging to Mary Anns wife (and Devlins old flame) Clarabell, I had terrible visions of who (or WHAT) was going to wear it. I was somewhat relieved when his walk through the cowshed led him to Violet instead of  Daisy, you know what I mean?

Devlin and Poppy head out the ol’ Sate Fair, where Marty An is proving to be the biggest douche bag in three counties. Your pet cow just won the blue ribbon? Great kid, here’s some money, you’ll see her next week at $1.99/lb! Devlin meanwhile gets the only-in-Kansas please of sampling milk squirted out of the udders of a ceramic heifer. (Damn it, I just speed typed “Sampling Milf”. Paging Doctor Freud!)  I believe the current Kansas State Fair is working on a way of batter-dipping and deep-frying not only the milk, but the entire cow at present. Powdered sugar on that? A very public staredown-slash-smirkoff plays out, before Devlin attempts to wipe the grin off Mary Ann’s face with his fist. This quickly results in a foot chase and the nights first splatter scene as one of the Mick Squad gets on the wrong end of a shotgun blast.

Devlin (still sans firearms) uses his head instead, making a ballsy escape through the fairs “Turkey Shoot” contest and hiding out in a cornfield. This is a good move, as said cornfield is about the size of Huntly. And is much more interesting to look at. After the hired muscle gives up the chase, Devlin and Poppy walk through the cornfield as the director gives us some beauty shots to look at. Nice countryside… f\ields, clouds, a huge combine harvester bearing down on Devlin.

Wait, what the hell? A COMBINE HARVESTER! Shit, we’re actually witnessing a Redneck Drive-by!

This was quite an impressive scene, thanks to the sheer scale of the machinery our heroes were getting chased by. They stay ahead of it, thanks to it’s top speed of like, twelve and the fact it has a turning circle of an small moon. Unfortunately Poppy falls prey to the innate weakness of Hollywood female supporting characters, Weak Ankle Disease and takes a tumble. She’s saved from a fatal.. well, combining, I suppose… by the Mick Squads badass driver. He not only has enough balls to drive his car directly into the maw of a freakin’ combine harvester, he turns out to be a crack shot to boot. If Obama hired the guy, half the Secret Service could retire early.

The crowd loved the lingering shots of his car being efficiently demolished and baled, too.

From that moment on, the movie decides to take the gloves off and get down and dirty. Mary Ann ups the “Complete Bastard” levels to eleven, handing Violet over to the denizens of El Scungo Hotel as a nickel hooker. I guessed she’d be clutching a handful of coins when Devlin liberated her, but even I was a little shocked at how many she’d “earned”. Let’s just say that in 1972, she could have emptied half a Coke machine with the profits. Another of Devlins crew gets nine colours of shit beaten out of him, and Poppy gets kidnapped.

If Mary Ann was looking to piss off Devlin, he succeeds beautifully. So much so that the Briefcase of Shooty Bang-Bangs makes another appearance. And this time, Devlin tools up… with a snub-nose submachine gun. Flip the fan onto high, the shit is on it’s way!

The finale is well staged, with one of the prettier shootouts I’ve seen. (Being set in a field of sunflowers at first.) As is traditional, by the time the big confrontation looms, Devlin is working solo. He compensates with one hell of an entrance to Mary Ann’s massive greenhouse. A forty mile an hour entrance on a hijacked semi, to be exact. Renovations complete, Devlin faces off with Mary Ann and Weenie, leading to a hilarious piece of black comedy too good to spoil. (But it probably won’t spoil, those things are loaded with preservatives!)

A few loose ends are wrapped up, and we’re out. Yes, those last two paragraphs were a really quick way to sum up the last quarter-hour or so of the film. But it’s to whet you appetitie in case you haven’t seen the film. Hunt it down, it’s worth a watch.

Vegetarians are excused, of course.

Running Themes, ACTIVATE!

(Note: Due to the incredible diverse selection of films this year, the Running Themes list is likely to evolve rapidly.)

Nipples?: They were the focal point (pun intended) of one scene. (Please note this them involves nipples through clothing, not booby shots. That’s ALWAYS a running theme!)

Cruelty to Animals?: Weenie was a dab hand with a mallet. Not to mention the tragic shot gunning of a ceramic cow.

Ominous Thunderstorms?: Ominous AND picturesque!

Redneck Violence! : A whole heapin’ passle o’ whoopass!

Freaky Looking Extras?: Kansas dentistry needed work in 1972. Not to mention some folks with eyes by Picasso.

Amusing Boat Names?: Clarabell lives on a boat named “Clarabell”. I think that’s redneck humour.


Skeeters Summary:  A change from the usual Film Noir opener, but no less hard-boiled. A tight, gritty opener to kick us off for ’11. Good stuff.

I shot out to the bathroom as the credits rolled, hoping to avoid to many mid-movie breaks, with their associated trod-on toes. I came back to find the theatre in total blackness, with film two already starting to roll. Holy shit, we’re keeping it REAL tight this year! Could we make 15 films this year?

In all honesty, probably not. Unless we’re all prepared to forgo breakfast AND dinner one year.

I hadn’t taken my torch with me, and had moved my gear to a seat further down the row due to a lack of leg space. (Damn immobile beanbags) Cue the usual gymnastics needed to avoid a career-ending ankle injury as I regained my seat. I didn’t go anywhere without the torch for the rest of the show. 

Steve Austin and new face Ned were the new pair in front of me. Lucky for them, at 5’7”, I had enough legroom to avoid doing more than giving their beanbangs a few mild kicks during the night. Not so lucky was Ant T, who’s legs I had cannoned into in the dark. My apologies for that, buddy.

Part 2: If all of your favourite movie genres had a baby…



This was an eye-opener for me. You see, I actually own a copy of this flick, grabbed at random this year. I’d actually seen the title and mixed it up in my head with fellow 80’s actioner MEGAFORCE. Discovering a distinct lack of Barry Bostwick in my new flick, I watched the first few minutes, then put it aside to spring on the B-Movie Crew one Friday night. I’m now so glad I didn’t. But having seen those first few minutes, I would have bet you a hundred dollars that ELIMINATORS was direct-to-video flick. I can practically visualise the oversized clamshell case it would have been packaged in. But here was a great-looking 35mm print, barely faded, with just the right amount of scratching at the reel changes.(Or whatever the thing is after the little circle appears… Ant told me the technical term, but it was in one ear on out the other, I’m afraid.)

ELIMINATORS is a 1986 action/sci-fi/martial arts/kinda Indiana Jones-y/add your favourite genre here movie, starring Andrew Prine and Denise Crosby. (A nice bonus for Darren and I, as she’s in MIRACLE MILE as well.) The basic premise is pretty basic all right… a low-rent (and kind of skinny) cybernetic warrior called “Mandroid” escape from his mad scientist creator, teams up with a scientist and her cute robot sidekick, a grizzled riverboat captain and an inexplicable ninja. Things blow up, kung-fu kicks are thrown, goofy comedy abounds, the world is saved and various plot twists nudge the ridiculousness gauge to Critical. Strap it in, we’re going a’recapping.

**Also starring… NOBODY!

**”Mayday, mayday! I’m flying through a credit sequence!”

**Superimposed flames have cost many a young pilot his life.

**”Charge, Legionnaires of Ancient Rome! This will all make sense in the final edit, by Jupiter!”

**Boy I hope I can find this soundtrack.

**Produced by trash-master Charles Band. I assume Richard did the bombastic score.

**Man, Doctor Who got OLD all of a sudden.

**“Activate the cartoon laser-bolt generator!”

**Hey, he created the opening credits for SAPPHIRE AND STEEL!

**Mandroid IS the Terminator of the Opera! (He kind of looks like Richard Dean Anderson after botched cranial surgery.)

**It’s alive! Now assume a blank expression and hold it for the next ninety minutes!

**Mandroid is helped out of the Cartoon Generator by Professor Crazyhair’s lab assistant, Old Japanese Guy. (I’d look up his name, but he’s the assistant of a Mad Scientist. He’s already outlived his life expectancy by surviving the credit sequence.)

**Mandroid has acquired an item: Roman Shield. Do you wish to equip item?

**Professor Crazyhair examines said shield. “Hmmm.. 1BC”. Are you telling me it’s DATED with a year that never existed, movie? I’ll assume that’s just one hell of a specific guess and move on.

**Professor Crazyhair is giving himself a transfusion of Orange Raro, and apparently enjoying it just a little too much. Should be watching this?

**Mandriod comes with interchangeable parts, I see. Though why he has an eggbeater for a left arm is anybody’s guess.

**“It works! My life’s work is successful! Now dismantle my construction, Assistant Deadmeat-san.”

**“What do you mean, what am I talking about? Just destroy the Mandroid and let’s go get a taco.”

**Assistant Deadman takes the news badly and decides to get Mandroid out of Dodge. Mandroid needs his Mobile Unit to make good his escape. Dude, you have “Mobile Units”. Us humans call them “Legs”.

**Oh, dear God. Mandroids Mobile Unit is a three-wheeled mini-tank in which he’s strapped at an unnatural angle. This got a big laugh from the peanut gallery.

**Old Japanese man with an assault rifle! That’s not something you see everyday!

**Geez, he sweats a lot for a Cyborg. Maybe he’s developed a coolant leak?

**Citadel guards jog into action. Yep, line up directly in front of the armoured killing machine boys. I’m sure nothing bad will happen to you.

** Mandroid shows some free will by disobeying an order to kill Assistant Redshirt-For-A-Labcoat. The guy gets cut down in the resulting crossfire anyway. Told ya!

**”I have been fatally wounded just badly enough to be able to advance the plot. Go see.. Colonel… Hunter.”” *dies*. Farewell, Obviously-Going-To-Be-Kacked Guy. You’ll be missed.

**Props to the stuntman who drove the Mobile Unit down a set of stairs. That could have gone all sorts of wrong.

**Man, remember when even bad movies had stuntmen?

**Expendable Goons, ASSEMBLE!

**Whoops, someone forgot to add a laser bolt effect. Apparently one guy just short-circuited.

**Holy crap, it’s the Redneck Brian Blessed!

**Was I the only one mentally adding “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP” noises every time the Mobile Unit reversed?

**Mandroid takes a high-calibre round to the back of his head. It can’t even make him change expression.

**Mandroid, you were confronted by a standard-looking wooden gate set in a thick rock wall. Blowing up the wall to escape kind of makes you look cocky. 

 **Mandroid ditches his sweet ride behind a scraggly tree. Someone wasn’t programmed with the Art of Not Being Seen, I see.

**Denise Richards, playing Colonel Hunter. Yes, the movie gives us the usual “I AM Colonel Hunter” Meet Cute later on.

**Hunters working on the must-have kids toy of 1986, a cutesy spinning-headed robot called Spot. Or S.P.O.T. Or possibly Spod. Or Spock. Or Spud. Her line read wasn’t overly clear.

**Hunters crack security guards monitor a power surge. Head Security Guard thinks it’s probably a cat. Or something. Man, we give you ONE thing to monitor, George! Lazy prick.

**S.P.O.T turns into a one-man Laser Floyd show, right before Mandroid turns up. In disguise.

**Yes, in disguise. A poncho and a Fedora. Apparently Mandroid was trying to blend in with Prince and the New Power Generation.

** KARATE CHOP! The first of many, MANY bad karate chops of the night.

**DRAMATIC UNVEILING! Whoa, he’s a Cyborg! Oh wait, we already knew that. It doesn’t stop the movie having him dramatically whip off his poncho three times in the film. WE GET IT!

**Exposition Alert!

**Whoops, Mandroid is experiencing technical difficulties. Time for Hunter to bust out a Phillips-head screwdriver and go brain-delving.

 **Man, all that technology and he has as many slots for memory as my old 486. Hunter will have to format his brain if he reads too long a novel.

**Whoops, she tripped the Flashback Switch, and it’s set in Third-Person Perspective Mode.

**Either he really hates that Legionnaire he’s firing at, or they’re reusing the same shots.

**We have confirmation of S.P.O.Ts name! “Search, Patrol and Operational Tactician”.  (A line lost in the second laugh garnered by Mandoid’s headwear.) I’d have named it “Search, Patrol, and Operational Reconnaissance Computer” myself. Who doesn’t go adventuring without a S.P.O.R.C?

**Ahh, random muggers. As essential to low-budget actioners as disused power plants.

**More kung-fu from Colonel Hunter. Don’t bother explaining why a robotics engineer is trained in martial arts, movie. It’s more fun to guess.

**”Looks like you who needs some bodywork!” *car explodes. Somewhere, Arnie is shaking his head sadly.

**S.P.O.T gets a camouflage paintjob for jungle action. He’s now so much of a spitting image for the helmets in the game Halo I refuse to believe it’s a coincidence.

**Hunter and Mandroid are heading upriver to find Professor Crazyhair’s secret lair. Y’know, the one with the massive satellite dish sticking out of the roof. I guess being Supervillain was easier before the creation of Google Earth.

**Enter our mildly-grizzled river guide and comic relief, Harry. He’s first seen being menaced by a huge, butch woman, giving me flashbacks to FANGS. Sure enough, both Harry and her give Hunter an admiring glance. Well, this is awkward.

**Hunter offers to hire the toughest river guide in the bar. This causes a brawl to break out. Good plan, lady.

**Harry gets the job by the simple expedient of staying the hell out of the brawl. In most films, Huge Butch Chicks role would be over. ELIMINATORS is not most films.

**Sure enough,  she rounds up the troops and comes after Harry, guns a’blazing. Man, I wish Auckland taxi drivers were this passionate about their jobs.

**Mandroid’s disguise has now expanded to include a bandage over his eyepiece. He doesn’t bother to explain this to Harry. I guess hideous ocular injuries are pretty common in this part of the world.

**Speaking of which, why is Huge Butch Chicks comic relief guy an effeminate Frenchman? Why the hell is he hanging out in Los Nowhere, Latin America?

**Harry drops a gas can overboard and shoots it. The fireball indicates his boat runs on fuel powerful enough to put Richard Branson into orbit.

**Harry blows out the engine, Hunter offers to fix it. A brief, if hilariously badly-timed discussion on Womans Lib breaks out. Dude, people trying to shoot you, yeah?

**Hunter fixes the boat engine, due to her… extensive knowledge of robotics. Sure, I’ll buy that. I mean, I can program my MySky to tape “7 Days”, so that makes me eminently qualified to pop into the edit suite and cut together a season of the show, right? It’s the same principle!

**Huge Butch Chick is on their tails again. So Mandroid takes out her boat with his attached miniature arm-torpedoes. I ain’t making this shit up, folks.


**Redneck Brian Blessed and his Raul Julia-ish looking sidekick return to the flick! Yayy! Too bad the guys voice is about two octaves too high to really be Brian Blessed.

**Okay, three octaves.

**Harry and Hunter part company, allowing S.P.O.T to be put to work. S.P.O.T’s communication interface, an device worn in the ear, is no only being used sporadically. By the end of the flick, Hunter just understands his blips and bloops perfectly. I guess she’s just a quick learner.

**Mini-Raul and Redneck Brian Blessed run across Harry. Yay, another boat chase with an obligatory Boat Explody! Can’t have too many of those in your film.

**Mandroids crashed fighter plane is found, allowing us to get a chance to give Mandroid some backstory later in the flick. I’m not sure we ever did, but the thought was there.

**Harry returns to play hero after Hunter gets trapped in Mandroids semi-submerged plane. Mandroid’s Arm of Many Things manages to produces a cable-shooting device that attaches onto things perfectly, even if you in no way aim it in the right direction. (Seriously, he fired it at such a steep angle, I initially though he was letting off a distress flare.)

**Oh, and S.P.O.T has now taken to sitting on Mandroids shoulder like a parrot in the 2145 production of “Treasure Island”. Pieces of eight-bits?

**Denise Richards Sideboob!


**Sorry, I got distracted there. Where was I?

**Harry’s “casual” whistle as Denise doffed her top was a crowd-pleaser.

**Our trio boat off down the river. A few minutes of painful comedy later, real hilarity as Mandroid FALLS OVERBOARD! Sadly he didn’t have go-go-gadget water wings attached, and vanishes into the muddy depths.

**Back at Professor Crazyhair’s digs, Brian and Raul report in. Their lack of progress earns Brian a disciplinary meeting with the Professor. In which he get repeatedly tortured with cartoon laser bolts to the face. I assume that qualifies as “First Verbal Warning” as far as Supervillains go.

** Professor Crazyhair has gained some excellent facial scarring at this point of the movie. Don’t ask me why. (He did have a munted eye at the start of the flick, but the scars are somewhat more… menacing.)

**Last-second laser bolt to the ballsack! Now we know why Redneck Brian Blessed voice is so high.

**Mandroid walks out of the river and meets a ninja, fishing by magic! (It’s magice when you drop a fish into a river and then reverse the film, right?). I should stress we’re now an hour into the flick and we just introduced a major character. Well played, ELIMINATORS.

**The ninjas name is “Kuji”. I so hope his full name is “Kuji Kuji Ku”. (I nicknamed him “Fishninja”)

**Oh, and his father was working with Reeves (AKA Professor Crazyhair) on a  “secret project”. We’re now 1 hour and 2 minutes into the flick. Kuji takes the prize for simplest backstory of the night.

**Meanwhile, Hunter and Harry have been captured by cavemen.

**Yes, actual cavemen. Time-travelling cyborg, remember?

**Look, just nod and smile. It’ll make the last 20 minutes easier if you send you suspension of disbelief out for a lunch break.

**KOMEDY! Lots and lots of KOMEDY! (Okay, some of it’s pretty funny, especially when Harry weasels his way into a sneaky lip lock on Hunter.)

** Welcome to Biking with Brian Blessed!

**Mandroid retrieves his “Mobile Unit” and rumbles jerkily into action.

**Man fall down, bike goes BOOM!

**Mandroid drives his Mobile Unit too close to a rock and proceeds to slowly tip over. Huge laugh.

**Fun Fact: A thin metal mesh screen is 100% protective against laser bolts.

**Another Fun Fact: Lasers bounce of shiny pieces of metal.

**Awww, Brian Blessed fall down, go boom!

**Oh no, S.P.O.T has turned to the Dark Side!

**Fishninja turns S.P.O.T into S.A.S.H.I.M.I. But by the power of SCIENCE, Hunter finds out the location of Professor Crazyhairs base.

**Mandroid pops open a ventilation shaft to gain access to the Prof’s lair. Great, millions of dollars of technology and he could be replaced with a crowbar.

**”Oh, no… a rapidly-spinning industrial fan! We’re trapped! I sure hope Fishninja can leap through it!” (Fan slows down to a crawl in the slo-mo “stunt” scene”) YAY!

The last ten minutes are a smorgasbord of crazy, which I’m loathe to spoil. Let’s just say this: AIR-KICK! SHURKIEN vs. ION DISRUPTOR! BYE-BYE BRIAN! PROFESSOR CRAZYBORG! (When did he become Rene Auberjonis?) CARTOON DEATHRAP! “HE’S DEAD, I ASSUME BY LOOKING AT HIM!”. VICTORY THROUGH VIOLENCE AGAINST A COMMODORE 64! RULER OF NOTHING!

And we finish on a well-received “Laughing Freeze-Frame”.

As is only good and right.

Nipples?: Cold water + white t-shirt + Denise Richards=A big yes.

Cruelty to Animals?: Gratuitous violence against S.P.O.T. And that trout never stood a chance.

Ominous Thunderstorms?: Nope, but lots of cartoon lightning bolts.

Redneck Violence! : REDNECKS, DIVVVVVE!

Freaky Looking Extras?:

Amusing Boat Names?: Harry’s boat was called the “No Questions”. This led directly to a bad joke. It got a sympathy laugh. Brian and Raul’s boat was the “Quo Vadis”. It goes boom.

Skeeters Summary:  Fantastic action-trash! And amazingly, not the best example of that we’d see in ’11. This flick isn’t too hard to hunt down, and if you’re a fan of 80’s cheesefests, it’s worth the hunt.

We took a quick break after ELIMINATORS. And I mean quick as in “Smoke faster, man HURRY!”. In five minutes or so, we the curtains were open again for the first of our two premieres. Grab your hoodie and get ready to violate your ASBO, it’s time to get Chav-y!

Part 3-Apart from the monsters, it’s practically a documentary.



This was the Big Announcement Flick, name-dropped in advance to help ensure a sell-out. And one I’d been eagerly awaiting since SFX magazines glowing five-star review some months ago. The premise was irresistible. Anti-social inner-city yoof vs VERY anti-social aliens in a London council estate. Could it live up to my expectations?

Yes. Yes, it did.

This flick scores big in pretty much all of the important areas. It’s got great performances from the cast, doubly so when the core group is all in their early-to-mid teens. Nick Frost is as hilarious as usual as thick-as-a-brick, off-his-face drug dealer Ron. The script is tight as drum, with realistic dialogue and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. The effects are ridiculously good to look at,  and the jump scares are extremely effective according to the amount of times Cherie and Darren made the seats in our row shudder.

It also breaks out from being a horror-comedy to make a few pertinent points about the state of England’s youth, without sledge hammering a message down our throats. It’s very complete film, with no dead spots to speak of.

In fact, the only problem was hearing that realistic dialogue. The Chav slang, coupled with the muffling effects of hoodies and bandannas has seen the film getting subtitled in America. While I wouldn’t say we need to go that far in this art of the colonies, the Hollywood’s sound mix was very bass-heavy for this flick. Add that to a soundtrack that occasionally dips into U.K Garage, and some of the dialogue just vanished into a booming void. Suffice it to say, I will be grabbing this film once it comes out on DVD, and making sure the bass is kept in check while I rewatch it.

Either that, or I’ll flick the subtitles on.

What? I didn’t recap the plot? Hey, the movie will be out in the cinemas pretty soon. Go see it. It’s worth every one of the five stars SFX awarded it.

And then some.

Nipples?: You’d never see them under the hoodies.

Cruelty to Animals?:  If aliens count as animals, then yes.

Ominous Thunderstorms?:  Bonfire Night made it SOUND like a thunderstorm.

Redneck Violence! : Chavs are the rednecks of North London.

Freaky Looking Extras?: Small casts don’t leave a lot of room for this theme.

Amusing Boat Names?: Not in a council estate, unless it had been stolen and dumped there.

Skeeters Summary:  Top-notch horror-comedy, with some of the best-designed aliens this year. Troof!

We took a quick dinner break, testing our Salvation Cafes new “feed the masses” delivery system. It passed with flying colours, I’m happy to report. I scarfed a sandwich and grabbed my usual pack of Wine Gums to keep the sugar levels up. Back inside the theatre, Ant ran the first game of the night, “What Happened Next?”

This game involved Ant screening a movie clip, then soliciting guesses on where the scene went. With most of the flicks being kind of obscure, wild guesses were the order of the day. I took a stab at a scene of a cat climbing a staircase of books towards a budgies cage. My suggestion of “Cat-sized guillotine out of shot” was well-received, but sadly somewhat off the mark. I also blanked on GYMKATA, which I actually own.

Once we were all back in the cheap seats, Ant pushed on with one of his personal favourites. He described it as one of the top ten comedies of all time. Darryn perked up quickly, hoping for BLAZING SADDLES. I could have handled that. But we were wrong again.


Part 4: We got us a gopher!


Comedy is a very subjective thing. What one person finds hilarious, others find lame. One of my friends brought me THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN for Christmas, telling me I had to see it! Greatest comedy ever! Hilarious!

He then sat aghast as I watched that chunk of shit without getting more that a mild chuckle. One mild chuckle. It’s personal taste, after all.

Why am I saying this? Because I’d seen CADDYSHACK maybe twice, the last time well over ten years ago.

I never really found it funny.

It had always seemed kind of disjointed… a two-way comedy jam as Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield  jousted for scene-stealing, wildly-mugging honours. (Even though Bill Murray felt then, and now, as if he was in a totally separate movie for a huge chuck of the flick.) Chevy Chase had never really even registered for me.

But time had passed, and I was watching it in the environment it should be seen. A big crowd of movie freaks, many of my age-group. Would it be any different this time?

Refreshingly, yes. It still feels to me like a collection of loosely-related sketches Frankensteined into a feature, Bill Murray still feels like he’s wandered onto the set and just started goofing off for the cameras, and Rodney is as frenetic and googly-eyed as ever. But after all this time, Chevy Chase’s understated performance really stands out for me as the best thing about the flick. He’s never flashy, he doesn’t overact, but every line out of his mouth was hilarious and delivered with impeccable timing.

It was good to see Chevy Chase being funny again.

It’s still a film that’ll never make my personal Top Ten Comedies list. But then again, JOE’S APARTMENT will probably never make your list, either. And I’m happy with that.

Just don’t tell me DODGEBALL was comedy genius, or you’re off my Christmas card list.

Nipples?: Most certainly.

Cruelty to Animals?: Attempted Rodentacide.

Ominous Thunderstorms?: More like an ominous Hurricane.

Redneck Violence! : No Rednecks allowed in the Country Club.

Freaky Looking Extras?: Not really, bar Rodney’s hired Golf-Goons.

Amusing Boat Names?: Yep, the “Seafood”. Yes, it’s Rodney’s.

I abandoned the stalls for the first time, settling into my beanbag. Unlike last year, said beanbag refused to turn into a comfortable doughnut. Have I put on weight? Or lost some? By the time I’d pummelled it into a suitable shape to support my neck, the lights were back down and we were right back in “What the fuck is wrong with America” territory.

Time to get grimy.


The 2011 Fatso.co.nz 24-Hour Movie Marathon Report, Part 2

Part 5: Y’all come back, y’hear? Or we’ll rape ya!



Doug later told me that this flick has an alternative title: POOR PRETTY EDDIE. I had already re-titled this flick by then, though. I like to think of it as CRAZY EDDIES HOUSE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCY. Both titles are way more accurate than BLACK VENGEACE, to be truthful. This is truly one of the sleaziest, grimiest, most depressing grindhouse flicks I’ve ever seen. Even FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE had a few moments of black-hearted levity to cut through the otherwise unremitting bleakness.


BLACK VENGEANCE in no way gives a shit about how you feel. It revels in it’s own twisted view of America, dragging you down into the gutter as it goes. By the end of it you feel dirty just for having watched it. Hell, if I picked up a video box and discovered it contained this film, I’d probably feel the need to wash my hands afterwards. 


Coming one film after CADDYSHACK, I have to applaud Ants unerring sense of timing.


BLACK VENGEANCE starts of with one of the more ironic uses of The Star Spangled Banner you’ll hear, being sung by the films star, Leslie Uggams, playing Elizabeth 'Liz' Wetherly. Leslie was a legit singer and actor in the 70’s, even guest-starring on an episode of the MUPPET SHOW. How she ended up starring in this icky little film is anybody’s guess.  Following her performance, Liz drives cross-country to her next gig. Unfortunately for her, by the time she’s driven through the opening credits her car has broken down. The remaining credit sequence is mellow to the extreme as we follow her walking through the golden-hued woods of the Deep South. Doug dismissed the films depravity later as “Well, it was set in Georgia!”. He’s from Michigan. I have no idea what that states particular form of deviancy is, but I’m sure we’ll find out in a future Marathon.


Liz chances upon the picturesque (in a “Cars-on-blocks, porn on the walls” kind of way) hotel of Eddie, aspiring Country singer and part-time Sexual Pervert. His hotel is also home to Kino, a massive handyman with a wicked facial scar, and Eddies girlfriend Bertha.


Bertha is a full-blown alcoholic with about a million psychological problems. Who’s been played by Shelly Winters, bringing that special kind of crazy that only Shelly Winters can provide.


You’re already starting to get a bad feeling about this, aren’t you?


To make things worse, Bertha used to be a sexpot singer, with some major jealousy issues. Which is not unexpected, as Eddie pops a verbal boner once he finds out who Bertha is. He even escorts her to the best cabin in his hotel. Y’know, the one decorated with titty pictures and strewn with empty beer cans. He sends Kino off to bring back Liz’s car, so he can “fix” it. Kino, massive facial scarring and all rapidly becomes the most likeable character in the flick as Liz goes from “frosty” to openly hostile towards Eddie in milliseconds flat.


Seriously, I’ve seen a good number of blaxploitation and revenge flicks from the 70’s. In all the films I’ve seen, I’m struggling to recall one in which our purported protagonist was so instantaneously aggressive to every other character in the film for no reason whatsoever. It in no way justifies what happens to her character, and yes, she’s an Afro-American female alone in a backwoods town full of sexist racists, but still, she’s hard to root for. (And that being said, despite all the depravity that occurs in the film, Liz’s race rarely figures in, or is even mentioned. I get the feeling I’d get the same treatment if I showed up in Deviants Falls, Georgia.)


Things go from bad to worse that night, as the local Sheriff (played by legendary Southern-fried character actor Slim Pickens) and his inbred sack of drool and idiocy nephew turn up for dinner. Liz continues to deliver every line like she’s breaking bread with the James Olen Ray Fanclub, while Slim chews turkey and scenery in equal measure. Urged on by the Sheriff and Bertha, Eddie bust outs his guitar and treats Liz (and us, I suppose) to his best Hee-Haw audition. I’m no fan of country music, and the song is a pretty weak example of the genre, but Liz’s facial expressions couldn’t be more disgusted if Eddie spontaneously committed an unnatural act with the main course. C’mon love, at least show a little professional courtesy if nothing else.


By now the dark storm clouds of “This ain’t gonna be pretty” are gathering fast. Bertha is smashed and jealous, the Sheriff is unwisely convincing Eddie that Liz is sending the “I want you Eddie, you giant country-studmuffin” signals and the Sheriffs nephew is about two damaged chromosomes away from busting out a bitchin’ banjo solo. And sure enough, it’s not too long before Liz comes downstairs to find a shirtless Eddie reclining in her bed. Ever the romantic, he’s brought hooch.


As mentioned before, I hate rape scenes. Even mild ones. Give me a choice between watching BASE MOI and receiving a scalding espresso enema, I’d be bent over in front of the barista in about five minutes. But this scene really ratchets up the ick factor in fine style. By intercutting between Eddie raping Liz and shots of Kino and his shitkicking, moonshine-drinking neighbours hootin’ and hollerin’ as Kino’s favourite dog is mated with one of the local bitches. (And before a horrible image crosses your mind, I mean “bitch” in the sense of “female dog”.) The crowds disgusted reaction almost rivalled that of the “Getting Freaky With Dad” scene in TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN.


Well, you think. The rape scene’s over, the worst has happened. And you thought wrong. VERY wrong. First Bertha, sweating bullets (and vodka) over her disintegrating relationship with Eddie convinces a local to drive Liz out of town. Naturally, he pulls off the road and demands Liz goes down south where the cotton grows. To really kick the audience in the balls, bare seconds later, Eddie rises up out of the back seat like a Satanic Jack-in-the Box.


One aside about Michael Christian, who played Eddie. That man has the creepiest grin you’ll ever see. He was like a Great White Shark with a quiff and a sequined shirt.


Eddie proceeds to beat the holy hell out of Liz and return her to the Hotel of Horrors. She proceeds to steal his car and escape, only to be pulled over by a local deputy., who delivers her to Sheriff Slim. And so begins the scene that will stick with everyone who sees the flick. A scene I first watched on the LOST AND FOUND VIDEO NIGHT video mixtape years ago without knowing the context. (Although I have always thought the main character was being played by Nichelle Nicols, due to a strong resemblance and a VERY similar speech pattern.) The fabled Interrogation Scene.


From the moment Liz accuses Eddie of rape, Sheriff Slim turns into the most lecherous man in the state. He quizzes Liz on the details, delivering the bring-down-the-house line “Did he.. did he bite yer titties?”. The fact both he and Inbred Nephew are taking the opportunity to “suck on a tamata” doesn’t help. Even if they’re mighty good tamatas! One thing I wasn’t expecting (having been clipped from the source used for the LOST  AND FOUND tape) was the cutaways to the notes Sheriff Slim’s taking. It’s doodles of nekkid people. I hope this movie wasn’t based on a true story.


Suitably…uh, aroused by Liz’s story, the Sheriff swings into action and takes Liz to tell her story to the local Justice of the Peace. Where do they find him? Why, in the local roadhouse, swilling booze with the entire town, Eddie and Bertha included.


Another aside… the JP was played by Dub Taylor, whose IMDB page made my jaw drop. Because while Slim Pickens appeared in over 160 films before his death in 1983, Dub has TWO HUNDREND and FORTY-THREE credited roles over 56 years, ranging from THE WILD BUNCH to THE COSBY SHOW. Plenty are tiny supporting roles, but my God the man kept busy.


He proves to be the Head Scumbag of Scumbag County, Georgia, forcing Liz to doff her top in front of the assembled rednecks. Y’know, to look for “evidence” of Eddies assault. This triggers the usual Friday-Night-In-Georgia all-in bar brawl, giving us one small moment of joy as Eddies grin gets punched briefly off his face.


Just to make up for that one tiny glimmer of light, the film proceeds to open up the local sewer and leap in, dragging us under for good measure. Eddie, having now had the little spring in his mental cuckoo clock go “SPROING!” proceeds to serve up a breakfast of “rabbit” stew to dog-loving Kino. Three guesses what breed of “rabbit” that was. Eddie then delivers a country ass-whoopin’ to Kino, before diving headfirst into the Outhouse of Insanity by deciding to marry Liz.


The capper to this insane plot twist? The townsfolk, Sheriff and JP included, see absolutely nothing wrong with the forced marriage of a kidnapped, raped and now semi-catatonic woman. (Who disappearance is presumably all over the national news by now)


In fact, the only one who’s not willing to hold his peace is my man Kino, who makes his feelings known by jumping and choking Eddie. Who rebuts this objection by stabbing Kino in the belly. Great, the only likeable person in the county just got knifed. This movie officially hates us.


Thankfully, Kino is a tough SOB, hanging on long enough to bust into the ceremony and making it a literal Shotgun Wedding. The final orgy of vengeance (Redneck Vengeance, despite the title) is somewhat undermined by the directors use of slo-mo. Lots of slow-mo. Like, Peckinpah-squared slow-mo. Like, make the audience laugh out loud slow-mo.


The final shot of the film (in both senses of the word) is a doozy, but my God it’s a relief to see the freeze-frame on this one. It’s the Bog Of Eternal Stench of revenge flicks… once you touch it, you’ll smell it forever.

It actually convinced me to make my first t-shirt change of the night. My Captain Spaulding shirt may be faded, stained and old, but it sure felt a lot cleaner than BLACK VENGEANCE.



Nipples?: Crudely-doodled one, yes.  

Cruelty to Animals?: Fuck yes.

Ominous Thunderstorms?: Not a one.

Redneck Violence! :  It’s Georgia. What do YOU think?

Freaky Looking Extras?:  It’s Georgia. What do YOU think?

Amusing Boat Names?: And this is where this running theme came to an abrupt halt.

Skeeter’s Summary: Well, worth a watch for the revenge/redneck/blaxplo completist. Just not exactly the feel-good family film of the year.


Back to the stalls I went. (In fact I spent the rest of the night alternating between seat and beanbag from this point on. It didn’t prevent my shoulders from complaining for two days afterwards.) It was close to midnight, our traditional Horror spot. (2010 excluded, when the speaker explosion meant we were still watching Rudy Ray Moore be awesome at the Witching Hour) And it was our second (and final) new release of the show. The one he hadn’t announced. And one, thanks to my habit of avoiding review websites up to the ‘Thon, I knew nothing about.


Part 6-Once Upon a NONOTTHEFACE!



For those who may have also not heard of this film, it’s actually a remake of a 1973 TV movie. It’s scripted by Guillermo del Toro, has ridiculously gorgeous production design, yet another of the current crop of scarily good child actors and a tight, well-paced script. It’s not terrifying, but has a nicely creepy atmosphere that taps into most of our primal childhood fears. (Meaning Cherie didn’t make the seats rattle in the jump scares, but I did watch the last ten minutes with my feet raised from the floor to avoid “them” grabbing me.)


It was a typical Marathon room-splitter. Some people loved it, others weren’t as impressed. I was in the positive camp. And as someone who loves practical special effects, the CGI impressed the hell out of me. Everything the computer geeks had created looked authentic, organic and as real as if they’d been on set. Just shows what you can do when you put a little love into the project.


Wait, did I forget to tell you the plot?


Good. Go spend your fifteen bucks on a ticket and make up your own mind. You could do a hell of a lot worse.


Running Themes?: My lips are sealed.


Following this flick (I think, my notes get a little less than conclusive after midnight) Ant held the second contest of the night. This was a “Movie Acronym” game. And for the first time since my popping and locking won me HOUSE OF WAX in ’05, I snagged a prize!


Yes, despite never having owned or watched the flick, defining C.H.U.D (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) scored me DVD’s of THE READER and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS NEST. (Neither of which are my style of flick, but Dawn was happy when I gave them to her the next day) I wasn’t able to add an INCEPTION DVD by answering the bonus question. (I was sure he’d ask about the title of the sequel, the brilliantly named C.H.U.D II: BUD THE CHUD. No dice.)

It was heading into the wee small hours. What Ant always calls the “Hard Yards”. Those “challenging” flicks he likes to throw at us. And this year, the gloves came off in a hurry.


Part 7-Amateur Hour-and-a-Quarter!

Sunday, 01:45-THE NIGHT OF THE CAT


Welcome to Obscurity-Piece Theatre, folks! Tonight, a movie whose IMDB page lists the year of release and NOTHING ELSE. Not even a fucking running time. I’ve seen pages for porn flicks that have more details.


Then again, I’ve seen porn films with better production values and plots, too.


The only place on the ‘Net that has any details on this flick is at Something Weird Video, who will happily sell you a DVD-R of the film. I believe Andrew Todd has already purchased one.


The print itself was our first example of Faded-to-Purple-Vision. I was confused by this, originally misreading the copyright date as 1962. (And therefore assuming it was another of our 2am dirty raincoat flicks.) But the vague hints that this film was shot in colour didn’t gel with ’62. (Something Weird gives it’s release date as 1973)  A tiny flash of pubic hair later in the flick confirmed the era for me.


But that was a long way off, despite a slender running time. We had much to see. Let’s go with the Things I Remember and Unanswered Questions from this flick.


In no particular order, because it was 2AM and the Fog of War was starting to make my notes even more scattershot than before.


**Why is that woman so overdressed for jogging?

**Man, he is NOT showing courtesy for other road users.

**Ouch. Impressively short screen time for that young lady.

**Man, this print is REALLY purple. Are we filming through grape jelly?

**Featuring Morgana “The Wild One”? Really. But is she a real wild child?

**I wonder if this is where Al Stewart got his album name from?

**Is this what MOONSHINERS WOMAN would look like if your colourised it?

**CSI: Overacted!

**”Man, please don’t writhe on the corpse. Your grief is contaminating the evidence.”


**That run-over chick was perky as hell when she was alive.

**Wait, change perky to “Tripping off her tits on Ecstasy”

**Geez, her sister is even MORE happy to be alive!

**How the hell can people overacts some much on dialogue-free scenes? The Keystone Kops were more underplayed than this!


**Oh shit, dialogue!

**Are we SURE this is a 70’s film? Reporter Guy Tom is throwing me a weird swinging 60’s vibe.

**”Sorry your sister got killed. Can I come over for cocktails and blurt out a long-winded speech about who killed her?”

**Who are all these women? Is this a Tupperware and Exposition Party?

**Tom, stop acting with your crotch.

**Seriously, I’m in the front row. Stop thrusting at me.

**Shit, this is some LONG exposition.

****Dude, if you explain any more of the plot, we’ll be able to just roll the credits when you stop.


**Tom, stop expositing and drink your Bloody Mary.

**Or is that just the colour fade? It could be a vodka/tonic for all I know.

**How did “White Slavery” become a running theme tonight?

**Will you stop talking please?


**At some stage in the film we learn our Evil Mob Boss is deathly afraid of cats. It could have been in this scene. But then again, from what I remember, the exposition for ALL our movies tonight was in this scene.


**Why do my notes have the word “Boobiephone” scrawled on it?

**Oh, right… the pimp who had Li’l Sis whacked had a telephone delivered by a topless waitress. And collected by a different topless waitress to double our nipple count. Well played, movie. Well played.

**”And now… MORGANA!” Yay, it must be a shoehorned-in topless dance scene!

**Wait, what happened? You cut the scene OUT? DAMMIT!

**Ahh, the wonderful scene with the Mob Boss and the other Mob Boss. (I think. It was hard enough to work out who was who on the night, let alone four days later.)

**”Uh, sir? We’re shooting a scene, could you clear the shot?”

**”Oh, you’re in the scene? Do you actually have any dialogue, or are you just content to stare at people?”

**Why is Mob Boss #2 inspecting the furniture?


**Stop frigging around with the décor! This isn’t Antiques Roadshow!

**Hooray, dialogue!

**Good Lord, this guys hired goons are freaky looking!

**I think I started a brief FIDDLER ON THE ROOF parody during this scene. “EXPOSITION!”. Seriously, how much explaing does this flick need?

**As I may have asked before, do mobsters have a temping agency they hire bikini-clad women from? The first thing they seem to do once they’re a Made Man is to fill the swimming pool and hire a bevy of Lounging Molls.

**Dude, stop trying to drown her! We’ve already had way more than our recommended daily intake of misogyny tonight.


**Geez, that is the biggest Hired Goon ever! I think he must be The Kingpin in his formative years.

**”Mongo pet kitty!” *squish*

**Please tell me that the still-living cat in this scene was just a stand-in, and someone on the crew knew a taxidermist. Otherwise this film just got twice as icky as BLACK Vengeance.

**As I mentioned to Doug on the night, this was the weirdest adaptation of OF MICE AND MEN I’d ever seen.


**Oh, great, implied rape scenes. And implied murder of women. And implied plot developments.

**They drowned Exposition Guy! I expected to see bubbles still coming up as he explained his own death scene.

**Okay, Morgana has dressed up in a catsuit and is investigating he own sisters murder. I had no idea this was a superhero flick.

**Wow, her karate chops are even faker than Fishninjas!

**Actually, they’re faker than Shatners.

**Great, they captured Morgana and they’re tying her to a bed./ I have a sinking feeling.

**My notes suddenly have “FETISH ALERT!” scrawled over them. That must have been as the goons started cutting off Morganas leather catsuit. This took some sometime. Instead of writing two words, I could have composed a sonnet about sadomasochism, plus two haikus.

**Get on with it!

**I think we now know the films target audience. Raincoats on, everybody!

**Okay, you’re about the torture, rape and kill your enemy. Wouldn’t you have taken the phone off the hook?

**Do all THREE of you have to leave the room?  You do? Hired Goon regulations, huh?

**Morgana is making her exciting escape!

**Wait, are we watching her make her escape in real-time?

**Oh, my God. We are a watching a hogtied woman try to pick up a knife with her toes in real-time.

**You seriously want to spend five minutes of your 75 minute running time of this scene, movie? Really?

**Great, I’m having flashbacks to DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS. This is all your fault, Doug!

**She’s nearly free!



**HOORAY! If this film had played earlier, there would have been a standing ovation. Instead, some people probably gave it a snoring ovation.

**More investigation, more not-quite connecting kung-fu kicks. Apparently we missed the sound of the director audibly cueing the actors in this scene. (Must have been drowned out by Weak-Ass-Fu hilarity.)


**That was pretty ballsy, actually. Sure, he was well-padded, but falling down a flight of stairs showed some serious commitment to the role.

**The end of the film is starting to blur into a stew of bad kung-fu, cutesy dialogue and skin-tight leathers. The finale, as Morgana spend about a hour kicking Sister-Killing Mob Boss into a quivering pulp was impressive in both its length and it’s inability to work Mob Bosses Feline-aphobia into the plot in any way.

**Hell, I even spotted a ceramic cat ornament on the set. Could she have not even hit him with it for the comedic irony?

**I know that suggestion probably wasn’t ironic. Leave me alone, grammar nerd.


Nipples?: The 70’s was the decade the bra forgot.

Cruelty to Animals?: “Tell me about the kitties, George!” *Squlech*

Ominous Thunderstorms?: Fer sure.

Redneck Violence! :  Minimal.

Freaky Looking Extras?: All over the damn place.


Skeeter’s Summary: An odd wee beastie of a sexploitation flick. Mind-boggling, inept and a joy to watch.


We were over the half-way point, and well into the make-or-break section of the night. Last year, a war film broke spirits. In 2009, MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN broke my brain. What did Ant have in store for us this year?


Part 8-Dashed implolite of you to stab me, old chap!



Hoo, boy. Gothic horror at 3am? Not even Hammer Horror, by the looks of it! Hey, Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew’s in the film. I probably won’t recognise him unless he hasn’t shaved for six weeks. Great, it’s a period piece. I’ll never stay away through… what the HELL?


That’s a condensed summary of my internal monologue as the first five minutes of the film unfolded. As a lengthy (and very loud) witch-burning played out, I made myself as comfortable as the stalls allowed me. I was pretty well sure that this was Ant’s usual “Zone-Out” flick, programmed to let the less-than-hardcore catch a few Z’s. My five hours kip the night before meant I was probably going to be one of those. And then, as our crispy-fried witch returned for the pyre to take gory revenge, the most unexpected thing possible flashed up on the screen.


The words “THE END”.


Holy shit, did I just sleep through an entire film?


Nope, but this idea I had sure as hell woke me up in a hurry. It was a brilliant early twist, as TERROR! is actually set in the present day. (Well, present in the sense of 1980 or so.) The film-within-a-film the characters are watching is a very economical way of delivering enough backstory to set up a very British giallo-slash-supernatural horror. (See NIGHT OF THE CAT… that’s how you do it!) It’s still somewhat talky for a 3am flick, and as usual, the stalls turned into an impromptu sleep-in. Steve Chow and Cherie took their obligatory forty winks, and some of the beanbag crew got a little shut-eye too.


But I wide awake again, determined to see thwart the curse of the wee small hours. Besides, this flick was a intriguing watch, with a typically English stiff upper-lip sensibility, a nice line in black humour and some gruesomely realised death scenes. There’s the mother of all thunder storms and one of the most protracted stalking scenes you’ll see. Leading to a hilariously English payoff as Peter Mayhew makes his brief appearance. There’s also a scene in which even an old-schooler like myself has to admit that the occasional flaw can be seen in practical effects. Such as the thick black cable suspending a floating car.


I didn’t really get he floating car bit, to be honest. Unless centuries-old witches have learnt how to possess a Ford Anglia.


It probably gets a bit wobbly in the final quarter hour, but by then it wasn’t the only thing. You see, the extremely heavy bass that I mentioned in ATTACK THE BLOCK was back. And for a while I was afraid Steven Chow was about to recreate a pivotal scene from the flick before my eyes.


Midway through the flick, a supporting character checks  out by way of a plummeting klieg light in his photo studio, Soon after, that insanely over-the-top thunderstorm breaks out. (Apparently England’s green and pleasant land has a monsoon season!) As this incredibly long scene plays out, with the same stock thunder effects I recognised from THE YOUNG ONES, I became aware of a strange noise from behind me.


The bass was literally causing parts of the theatre to vibrate. A metal panel on the back wall was humming like a live wire. As I looked to my left, I spotted Steve, blissfully asleep in his seat. Directly above his head was a heat pump, shuddering away happily. I had visions of the whole unit detaching itself from the wall and taking him out in his sleep.


Made the scene WAY more suspenseful for me than for most of the other viewers, methinks.


Running Themes? They’d shrunk down to Thunderstorms, Nipples and Cruelty to animals by now. Just assume “Yes” to each of those for the rest of this review.


We got through the film (which as you notice, I’m skimping on plot details to try and goad you into hunting down) without any major cranial damage to report. A quick break and we would be into the pre-breakfast Double-Feature. Hey, I’d made it this far with nary an Atomic Headsnap or yawn to speak of. NOTHING could challenge me this year!


Part 9-Wow. Far out, man. Like. Wow.



Where do I begin?


How do I describe the cinematic experience that is DIDN’T YOU HEAR…? At what point did I realise that the next ninety minutes were going to violate the Geneva Convention?


That last part is easy. I knew this was going to be torture the moment the song started. The theme song. That fucking song.


It is of course called “Didn’t you hear?”, and starts with those exact word. By the second time you  hear the singer begin that phrase, you’re ready to scream “YES! I HEARD IT THE FIRST TIME!”.  By the third time, I was ready to test out the noise-dampening properties of two lime-flavoured Wine Gums. It’s one of the drippiest, most overwrought and excruciatingly awful songs of the 70’s. And the 70’s were the highpoint of the career of Englebert Humperdink. 


“But Steve,” you say. “You’ve heard terrible songs  in film before! The Rooster! That god-awful jazz number in BLACK AGENT LUCKY KING! You own the soundtrack to THE APPLE, man!”. True, but those songs weren’t playing during a movie like DIDN’T YOU HEAR…? Because there’s no other film quite like this one. And I doubt there ever will be again.


Because this isn’t a film. It’s art., In fact it’s Art, with a big fucking capital “A”. Possibly even a capital “R”. This is a student film. A student film with a yacht, a budget and a  message that no-one will ever understand.


And Gary Busey.


Yep, he may have been a teenager. He might have been podgy. But there was no mistaking those teeth. And that grin. This film could have been amazing, except for one crucial flaw. Gary Busey wasn’t allowed to play Gary Busey.


Is this making any sense to anyone? No? Good, you’re now experiencing what I experienced between the hours of 5 and 6am.  Let me give you a plot synopsis to clear things up. In the only way this film SHOULD be described.



Nerdy, virginal college Student

         [70’s hair/Friend of Gary]


falls asleep

  geology lecture,

              boring teacher    

dreams his classmates are pirates. Setting out


a journey in his



Topless sorority pledge

     In his


Public humiliation

  Study or fantasy?


dream sequence

                        /existential crisis

                                                 /out-of-body experience

                                                                                    /fuck knows what.

 This dream






       return to reality

title spoken/ambiguous ending/doesn’t make a lick of sense.


[But did he pass his test? DID HE PASS HIS TEST?]


             …Didn’t you hear…?




Yes, Ant had hit us with a film comprised almost entirely of 70’s student philosophy, a genuine rap session recorded for posterity, a time capsule of a lost era and a really glaring example of how LSD has a lot to answer for. In this film, people talk. And talk. And sail boats while talking. And eat and talk. But mainly talk. About life and death and the cosmic understanding and whatever else seemed really, like, DEEP at the time.


We basically spend an hour inside the mind of Captain Neuroses.


Some scenes seem improvised. Some scenes are between minor characters we know nothing about. Some scenes are repeated, making people who woke up at that time think the reels had been mixed up. The movie re-defines the 5am Zone-Out flick, the perfect movie to lull you to dreamland and refresh you for the final push to breakfast. And so it did. The place looked like someone had been pumping ether through the ventilation system. Next to me Kirsty was out. Glen was drifting in and out. The entire front row of the stalls was a slumber party. Even the dude I last year dubbed “Rappin’ Jesus” looked like he was out, and with that beard and hair, I figured this might be his kind of flick. To stay awake for it, you’d have to be crazy.


Anyone know the number of a good shrink?


I watched nearly every frame of this flick. (All nine hours of it, at a conservative estimate.) I think Doug did too. I have no idea to this day what the message was, or if the message was “Hey, there’s really no message, y’know?”. There was something bizarrely compelling about it, horrible theme song and all. I think I stayed conscious in the vain hope that it would all make sense in the end. My notes became increasingly fractured until I seemed to be just scribbling random gibberish. Some choices phrases in my notebook include;


An existential romance?


Little Ado about Fuck-All

We’ve diverted into “Like, Wow!” Town.

Shut up about the fish, Gary!

Neurotic Kids hair looks like a tea-cosy.

They’re pillaging the bubblegum!


Halfway through the film, I’ve written “Mind turning to porridge”. A little later, my handwriting seems to devolve as I scrawl “I’m no longer sure I exist. I hope breakfast exists.”


Ten minutes from the end of the flick it happened. I looked away screen for a second, focusing on the wood panelling around the stage.


Which was pulsing in and out.


This movie made me hallucinate. Like, wow. Far out.


By the end of the film, my legs had decided they didn’t exist. It took me three attempts to get out of my beanbag.


Brave choice, Ant.




The 2011 Fatso.co.nz 24-Hour Movie Marathon Report, Part 3

PART 10-A Night at the Panto



And so Andy Milligan makes his debut at the Auckland Marathon. (Another of his flicks, TORTURE DUNGEON apparently played Wellington a few years back) I’ve never seen a Milligan flick, but have heard a lot about his demented movies from various members of the B-Movie Crew. Andrew and Doug have read his biography, which indicates he was a deeply disturbed individual, who detested himself as much as everyone around him. BLOOD is “gateway Milligan”, one of his easier flicks to get into. But I’ll have to take their word for that.

My notes on BLOOD only say “Werewolves, vampires and Frankenstein, oh my!” and “Eyelid attack!”.

The eyelids were mine.

DIDN’T YOU HEAR had broken me. I have little clue as to what happened in BLOOD, watching it in a semi-conscious doze. Steven Chow claims he heard me snoring, although I rather suspect that was coming from Cherie. (Don’t deny it, I was three seats down from you and you were audible over the bass of TERROR!) I probably did drop off a couple of times, judging by how my neck felt afterwards, but even when I was awake, nothing made sense.

It didn’t help that Milligans jarring edits were making me doubt my own eyes. The main character turned into a werewolf one stage. For about ten seconds. When you’ve lost any sense of time, that shit messes with your head.

I do remember costumes and makeup that seemed to be more at home in an amateur production of “Jack and the Beanstalk” than a film. I had to fight the urge to shout “HE’S BEHIND YOU!” and “OH, YES HE IS!” If Bruce Forsythe had shown up as the Widow Twanky, I wouldn’t have been even slightly surprised. Milligans framing of scenes hurt, too. Characters would be standing side by side, delivering their dialogue more at the camera than each other. It was like trying to talk to someone with a lazy eye… you never know where you’re supposed to be looking..

Amazingly, this movie is only fifty-seven minutes long in its longest surviving print. There’s a LOT of crazy packed  into an hour.

And this is “mild” Milligan? Show me more!





It seems the older I get, the harder the pre-breakfast movie is. When I’m not nodding off, my mind is showing me a slideshow of fried pig parts, chicken embryos and sweet, sweet coffee. (Although a huge queue prevented me from hitting up the java stand this year. I had knocked back a double espresso in the night, of course.) I beat feet to Salvations Café’s breakfast delivery system in the lobby, fortifying myself with a Salmon Benedict Roll. An egg never tasted so good. Most of us got a little natural light in the street and dissected the flicks so far. Funnily enough, one film was the most discussed, while probably being the one the least people actually saw.

And none of us could say the title right. My brain kept converting the title from DIDN’T YOU HEAR to DIDN’T YOU KNOW, I HEAR YOU and on at least one occasion,  DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL.

I returned to the theatre for my Incredibly Strange TV shirt, finding it deserted. Well, until I noticed one of the stall-dwellers from the row behind me, somehow managing to sleep while wedged into his seat.

As the room began to fill up again, a beanbag next to me suddenly groaned and sat up. I thought I was hallucinating again. It was in fact Al, who’d pulled his usual trick of Beanbag Camouflage by sleeping face-down while encased in his hoodie. Next year I’m going to take a stick to prod every beanbag before I sit in it.

More DVD’s were given out, before we rolled into the first of the Final Four. (As it was pretty obvious we’d easily make 14 films, but hadn’t got a show of breaking the record this year.) Getcha motor running, it’s time to get out on a dusty, deserted highway.

Welcome to Australia!

PART 11: Demolition Derby, Outback Style!



You’ll be glad to know that this particular FAIR GAME  doesn’t involve William Baldwin and Cindy Crawford,  in any way , shape or form. In fact it’s a 1986 Australian action film, set in the sun-baked Outback. Which, as in most Aussie films, makes a film set in the present day still LOOK like a post-apocalyptic one. And like other Oz-sploitation flicks of the 80’s eschews talk for action. And has lots of stunt work that requires a combination of steel-balled bravery and Darwin-tempting idiocy. A early truck-to-car-to-truck transfer  wouldn’t have looked out of place in the last fifteen minutes of MAD MAX II.

FAIR GAME has a fairly simple storyline, and is all the better for that. A young woman living alone in an isolated wildlife preserve runs afoul of three bored and mean-spirited kangaroo hunters. Lifelong friendships are NOT formed as a result. Things go downhill a rapid clip as the poachers target their not-as-helpless-as-they-thought victim, ratcheting up the abuse and harassment until a property-value lowering conclusion turns into the smallest, dustiest, most intimate civil war of the 1980’s.

Yeah, that’s pretty much the plot in a nutshell. Like MAD MAX and it’s spawn, there’s large chunks of the film with very little dialogue. The cars and motorcycles and the massive 4x4 nicknamed “The Beast” become the stars of the show at times, although the tiny cast makes their parts memorable for all the right reasons. (Especially David Sandford as the psycho of the trio, Ringo, who I thought was doing his own stunts. Closer examination of the flicks trailer seems to prove otherwise.)

There’s plenty of exploitation elements, including an essential-to-the-plot (No, honestly!) nude scene that ranks pretty high on my personal “Sexist Bastard List of Impressive Ass Shots”. A later scene, as actress Cassandra Delaney as hogtied topless to the bonnet of The Beast, was impressive in it’s sleaziness. But once again, in the context of the films escalating intensity, I think it worked quite well. Either that or BLACK VENGEANCE had simply made me numb to anything less sleazy than a Midget Snuff film.

By the end of the film, the rousing (if slightly McGuyver-ish) finale had woken we right back up. I had enjoyed FAIR GAME a lot, and even better, it’s available on DVD! Well, on TradeMe at least. Oddly, it’s not on Fatso.Com. Yet.

Go get it, Steve!

Man, I’m racing through the plots of these later movies, huh? It’s almost like there’s something coming up I can’t wait to start talking about…

(Foreshadowing, foreshadowing!)


Part 11-Pleased to meet ya, hope you guessed my Clay!


“Is this it?” you ask. “Is THIS the film you’re dying to talk about?”. Well, no. This is the film that’s been worrying me since I started typing on Sunday night. The film high on charm and camp value, but with a plot so thin you could read a newspaper through it if you held it up to the light. The film that gave Old-School FX nerds like me a warm fuzzy feeling, while still giving me something to laugh at. The film that looked like it had been soaking in plum juice since the late 90’s or so.

Yep, this was faded to an eye-watering scarlet, with frames missing at random intervals in the first third of the picture. The effect was like that of listening to a CD that your puppy had treated as a chew-toy, with wor/cuitt/ng/o/middl/f/sences giving me the aural equivalent of whiplash. Research (Read: The internet) has told me that this flick started off a student film, with extra scenes filmed and added in a few years later for the drive-in set. I think our print had been to QUITE a few drive-ins in the last 40 years.

 In the back of my mind, I knew I’d heard about EQUINOX, but couldn’t place it in my sleep-deprived state. The opening scenes didn’t ring any bells, as our Hero and Smooth-Voiced Narrator, David (Who was either being dubbed, or had the looks of a Soda Jerk and the Voice of an Atlantic City Lounge Crooner) dashed through woods in what appeared to be a 5K Geek Run. Dashing into the road, he tries to wave down a car… A car with no driver at the wheel! (Unless you count the one we can see in the long shots) Dave quickly does his best imitation of a hood ornament, and is left lying unconscious in the road.

Coming just a month after Glenn hit us with THE CAR, a 70’s Killer Car flick that should be much more well know than it is, this scene was like meeting an old friend. Darren had been in line for coffee when the flick started, and sat down thinking we WERE seeing THE CAR. (By the way, Ant… if you need a flick for next year, you could do worse than THE CAR. Hint, hint. And indeed, honk, honk.)

We head to the local nuthouse, where Dave has been committed since his outbreak of Bumper Gymnastics. A reporter has come to talk to him, but he’s completely catatonic, clutching a crucifix the same way I was clinging to my last can of V. Since he’s not going to be able to narrate in that state, the rest of the movie is a flashback triggered by the playing of his only interview before the Woollen Cardigan of his Psyche unravelled completely.

This meant that the opening we had seen was actually the ending, and we’d just flashed back to the beginning of the film, which then had a flashback inside the flashback, which then ended back at the start of the film, which ended with a “The End?” title card.

Dear INCEPTION. You’re adorable. Love, EQUINOX.

We now knew that David was the sole survivor of a group of friends who had headed into the woods, looking for his old college Professor. But the doomed trio were in no way the type of cardboard cut-outs that pass for characters in modern “Spam in the Cabin” horrors. While the two female characters were kind of underwritten, being 1968, Dave’s friend Jim more made up for them. I assume he was supposed to be the Comic Relief, but I soon dubbed him “The Comic Relief Douchebag”. Rarely have I heard someone spend so much time bagging the female leads for the unforgivable crime of, well… being girls!

Seriously, every second line out of his mouth was in same way related to the fact that chicks are weak, slow, chatty creatures , put upon the earth to get in his way. Darren and I were in stitches at some of the most good-natured misogyny of the night. Yes, it appeared the main message of the 2011 Marathon was “Guys are Dorks”. Sorry, ladies. Blame it on the Y Chromosome.

Or the fact we kind of act like dorks.  

Once in the woods, the group run into another character that elevates this film into high camp. A park ranger named “Asmodeus”. Yes, “Asmodeus”. Apparently Sheriff Beelzebub and Deputy Satan-Lord-Of-Darkness had the week off. Asmodeus rides into most shots on his stallion, looking like a 70’s Marboro cigarette advert come to life. He also has an.. unusual.. speech patt.. ern. But he’s not evil, or nothing. I mean, considering he’s the Prince of Lies and all.

Our plucky (and in some scenes, strangely old)  college students make it to Professor McGuffin’s  cabin, only to discover it’s been destroyed. It’s not that big of a loss, as they’d never fit in it, being a cute little miniature. Later on we flashback to the destruction of cabin, in glorious, not-quite-Harryhausen-quality stop-motion. Nothing makes me happier than flailing Plasticine tentacles at 10:30 am.

After running into Park Ranger Brimstone-breath, the group wanders around for a while, encountering what appears to be an inexplicable medieval castle. Someone call the tourist office, I think you need to update your guidebooks! Later they discover the regions famous Cave of Hilarity. Here they’re gifted with the Proto-Nomicon by the caves’ curator, Giggling Harry McShabbyguy. His insane cackling was infectious, doubly so when you’re tripping out on caffeine, sugar and DIDN’T YOU HEAR…?

And then…


All right, confession time. Due to work and child-rearing commitments, it’s now a full week since the Marathon. I’ve been typing three hour per night once the kid is asleep, trying to get this thing finished. I just passed 15, 000 words, and I still have to go back and finish my stupidly-long recap of ELIMINATORS. And guess what?

I have no idea of the sequence of events in this movie. I’m not sure if the characters found the Cave of Hilarity before or after the Inexplicable Castle. I can’t remember where the flashback to C’thulus Home Renovations was in relation to the Flying Stop-Motion Satans first appearance was. I don’t recall which of the Interchangeable Useless Chicks was killed off first, and what happened to Park Ranger Lucifer. (Although I’m sure David’s crucifix was involved.) All I can remember clearly is the second reel having a burnt-in pattern that looked like fluttering green butterflies. This was oddly relaxing.

Maybe it was me, maybe it was the film. Maybe it was Satan.

It was probably me. The flick was entertaining, if a little muddled. The stop-motion effects were charming, if on a par with a talented kids Super-8 production. The ending raised a good laugh, especially with the aforementioned “THE END?” card.

But frankly, I think I’m going to have to abandon any thoughts of a  coherent recap and just sum up… EQUINOX is a cute time-waster with a an earnest cast, the likes of which we don’t get in the sea of mediocrity that crowds DVD shop shelves these days.

 I know, I’m showing my age and turning into a pussy. So I’ll just leave this here and move on.

I don"t even remember this scene!

Ant and his right-hand man Jeff ran one final round of games and contests before the penultimate flick. The first was the “AND and AND” game, where contestants won a spot on stage by guessing an movie acronym. Doug and I both got on stage, even though I now honestly can’t remember the flick I named. (And I didn’t even know it, only having to fill in the last obvious word after multiple clues were given by Jeff.) Once up there, we had to name films with names that were in the format “*someone* and *someone else*”.  Easy concept, yeah? How many can you name right now? Dozens, right? THELMA AND LOUISE, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, TURNER AND HOOCH?

I came up with one, TANGO AND CASH, before my brain went blank. I wasn’t alone.

Only after twenty hours of flicks could a bunch of movie geeks fail to think of movie titles. After exactly two rounds, all but two of us was out. Even Doug couldn’t come up with a second title. Walking off-stage, clutching my consolation prize of a SMOKING ACES/LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS DVD, I immediately thought of half-a-dozen. Thanks, brain.

Doug and I were only half-way back to our beanbags when the next contest was announced… the classic “Imitate Your Favourite Character” contest, for a massive 20-DVD pack. There was no preliminary contest for this, just the first ten people who wanted to get onstage. Doug and I looked at other. Doug shouted “Can we enter again?”, getting no response. We shrugged and hightailed it back up the steps.

The final line-up of contestants held a number of Marathon Heavyweights. Improviser and bringer-of-awesome Andrew Todd, 2010 rap-off runner-up Rappin’ Jesus and Doug, who tore the place down with his winning imitation of Lester/Caleb back in ’07. I had planned on imitating Fishninja from ELIMINATORS, as years of watching Godfrey Ho movies had my “Ninja Run” pretty well dialled in. And then it happened.


 Yes, I was one-upped by Rappin’ Jessus, who took his life (and beard) in his hands by taking a flying leap across the hard wooden stage to imitate Fishninja in the “Ventilation Shaft Entry” scene. The crowd went wild, and I was screwed. Luckily, I was last in line, and had a few seconds to pick again. I had just decided on Mandroid when Andrew unleashed his best Slim Pickens in the “He bite yer tittles?” scene. Massive reaction. This contest was over.

 To double my pain, Doug had also picked Mandroid, delivering a slightly underplayed reading of “Looks like YOU who needs  bodywork!”. (That’s probably the only time the words “Mandroid” and “Underplayed” were used in the same sentence.) Going for the comedy option, I rolled (literally) with Mandroid, in the “This is my Mobile Unit” bit. Taking three tottering steps across the stage, I slowly toppled sideways. Lying twitching on the stage, I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction. It almost made up for the fact that my right elbow took the brunt of the fall, erasing a nice patch of skin.

The audience voted with applause, and despite the fact I still thought Andrew had won, the judges (ie. Ant and Jeff) were split between the two of us. As they conferred, Andrew and I began mock-sparring. Jeff,  ever the fan of bloodsports, decreed that we should decide the prize by fighting to the death for the amusement of the crowd. We didn’t need much prompting. I’m not sure if it amused or horrified the crowd, but we both stripped to the waist, with Andrew trash-talking me in the Voice of Slim Pickens the whole time.

Now trusting myself to out-improvise an improviser, I channelled my inner Ralph Macchio and busted out the worlds shittiest Crane, then slipped into Fishninja Mode. Seconds later, Andrew took me out with a well-aimed pantomime “tomata” to the face.

The contest was declared a draw, and we split the prize 50/50. I may have got both the best and worst half of the deal, as one of my DVD’s was a multi-disc set of every NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET movie. (Yay, I can watch the series devolve into self parody all over again! And then save itself with NEW NIGHTMARE!) I also won RUBBER, 2001, FULL METAL JACKET, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and a selection of new horror I haven’t seen before.

I’m a happy geek.

At the conclusion of the silliness, Andrew and I re-donned our shirts, much to the relief of any women there, I assume. Ant told us to strap it in for some “Five-Star Trash”, a rare designation only reserved for flicks the calibre of LADY TERMINATOR. That’s a hard act to follow, what with snakes in odd places, going-kicked corpses and the Magnificent Mullet of Snake. Could this flick even HOPE to reach those fabled heights?

PART 13-Nnajs+New Wave=AWESOME!



Oh, fuck yes.

I had never seen this movie, or even heard of it. But twenty minutes in, I knew I would have to own it. I was fooling myself, obviously. A flick this obscure couldn’t have a DVD release, especially not in New Zealand, where the price to get it classified would have been way more than they could ever hope to make from it.

I had it six days later. Thank you Internet.  

And so, without further ado, let’s check out our Five-Star Trash Classic. A movie I think will be able to watch a million times and never, EVER get bored with it. A movie that had the audience howling with laughter, despite not actually being a comedy. A movie that should be known as the TROLL 2 of martial arts movies. Bring it on, MIAMI CONNECTION!

**Hey, the soundtracks going “Tikka-tikka-tikka-tikka”.. I have a sneaking suspicion that this flick was made in the 1980’s!

**Five seconds in, someone yelled “MIAMI CONNECTION! WHOOO!” I’ll probably make that same reaction noise at the same spot for the next forty years or so.

**”Somewhere in Miami”, huh? Fine, by coy movie!

**It’s a convention of Panama Hat salesmen!

**Oh wait, it’s a drug-deal. In Miami. In the 80’s. Is this a documentary?


**Holy shit, Chunk grew up to be a drug-dealer!

**This is a weirdly multi-racial drug gang.

**I tawt I taw a ninja!

**I DID, I DID taw a ninja!

**A snow-ninja, at that. Dude… it’s Miami!

**”Man, thees is some gooood icing sugar, Mang!”

**Dude, one taste of the merchandise, please. You just cost your cartel abut 800 bucks with that double-dip.


**Nice spin-move… this drug-dealer must have been one the dancers in the “Smooth Criminal” segment of MOONWALKER.

**”Annie are you okaMY FACE!”

**Fun fact: Machine guns are less effective than arrows.

**Lamest rolling attack since KRULL!

**Can I make the “He disarmed him!” joke again? It’s been like, 8 years! Nope, still too soon, huh?

**Big laugh for the guy who apparently fell into a Black Hole.

**NINJAS ON BIKES! I love this movie already!

**Random thunderclap! We made a running theme without even trying.

**”Where’s MUDDY!? WHERE’S MARTY?!” What? Oh, you mean MONEY? I think this film ran out about four minutes into the shoot.

**That master Ninja sounds like the Asiatic Frank Stallone.

**Is that thunderclap still going?


**Are they singing the plot?

**Starring Y.K Kim. Oh, THAT guy!

**Worst air guitar seen since I was six and playing a tennis racquet to “I Was Made For Loving You”

**Story ALSO by Y.K Kim. And he produced it. This is going to be good.

**’Hi, dude! My ninjas stole some cocaine. But my most important questions is why you’re dressed like Gay Guevara?”

**We’re in the hottest nightclub in Central Florida. Look, it attracts New-Agers, guys with porn-‘staches, bra-less women( RUNNING THEME!) and Mufti Ninjas!

**And here’s our Heroes, Dragon Sound! Moviedoms greatest Tae-kwon-do rock bands!

**Hey, is this the theme song again?

**Nope, it’s called “Friends” It uses the word “friends” more often than I type “Flicks”. And that’s a lot.

**Could someone buy this band a bunch of shirts?

**Gay Guevara’s sisters Jane is in the band! What a plot development!

**Hey, is that lead singer Hall or Oates?

**Man, I hope Y.K Kim is better at martial arts than his is at playing the guitar. Or clapping in time. Or, y’know, clapping. (I swear he MISSES at one stage.)

**Y.K, stop taking your guitar off mid-song. (Did they edit out his tae-kwon-do moves?)


**Now stop putting your guitar back on!


**Yay, the song is over. ENCORE!

**We faded out… is it over?

**Oh my God, she’s learning BASIC!


**20 GOTO 10

**This class just placed 4th in the International BASIC Programming Contest. Doug proudly informed  me his alma mater was third. My only boast is reprogramming a random phrase generator on my VIC-20 to spout obscenities.

**”Hey, nice circle!”. Huge laugh.

**Goofy-ass Bass Player arrives to make childish faces at Jane. She’s besotted with him. Women had low standards in ‘87. So longs as your jacket sleeves were well-rolled, you’re in!

**Jane gives a long speech on her estranged, drug-dealing brother while they walk on campus, nearly getting drowned out by the ambient noise. Her mild reaction to her parents death was hilarious.

**Enter the gayest-looking gang since the Pink Angels. Sample looks, Gay Geuvaras camo-pants and white high-tops ensemble, the Notre Dame Bodybuilder, the overweight Bikie and Anorexic Axl Rose.

**Hi, enormous Boom Microphone!”

**”Hi, I’m a gay revolutionary. Meet my fist!”

**Man, I though Liz was overly antagonistic.

**Y.K Kim speaks his first lines. It’s not so much broken English as “Disintegrated”.

**Wait, are we introducing another gang?

**Oh, It’s another BAND! Who know kung-fu.

**Overlapping shouting match! Are we improvising, or was this seriously the best take?

**He’s a Kung-Fu Klub Owner! Only in Miami.

**Hey, we’re on the set of ENTER THE DRAGON!


**Nice conservatory. Fully furnished with ninjas, too.

**Diner scene, with dialogue almost as good as PULP FICTION. “Tatses good? “Tastes good!” *nod, nod, nod* *Silence* *fade out*

**Another musical number, AGAINST THE NINJAS! With a fist-pumping chorus!

**Did she make that outfit out of my living room net curtains?

****We will sing the plot/ And foreshadow too/AGAINST THE NINJA! *fistpump*

**”Clapping is HARD!” *miss*

**Miami’s Hottest Nightclub has 40 patrons.

**Bitchin’ Mullety Guitar Solo!

**Indoor fireworks! Call OSH!

**Y.K almost falls over leaping into a convertible. Bruce Lee he ain’t.

**Either this is a slow car chase, or a really fast funeral procession.

**Are they on the set of STREETS OF FIRE?

**It’s a Drive-by Shouting!

**Hey, it’s the Other Band!  And thirty people. I think the club patrons want their money back.

**Y.K gets another line of dialogue. This is a mistake. Sometimes dubbing is a GOOD thing, movie.

**Drive-By Beer-ing!

**Tae-Kwon Do breaks out! All the bad guys attack singly, as is only polite.

**Y.K finally does something he’s good at… yelling and kicking people.


**Dude, the idea of a weapon is you aim it AT your opponent. Not in the general vicinity of him

**Shirtless keyboard player!

**Oh, God, shirtless everybody! Get some groupies, please! It’s way too gay in here.

**Long dramatic scene coming up as Keyboard Player busts out his “Lost Father” story. While crying. Fun Fact: He’s not an actor.

**He could be a comedian, judging by the audience reaction. (I thought the PSA winners were going to laugh themselves in a hernia.)

**Y.K “I thought we were all.. Or Pan!” Huh? Oh, orphans, got it. Man, and I thought ATTACK THE BLOCK might need subtitles.

**Dude, please stop emoting. Please!

**”Friends Forever” ENCORE! YES!


**The band feigns an interest in bikini-clad women. You’re not fooling anybody, boys.

**They’re cruising the beach in their Wish-We-Were-Hetero-Mobile!

**We get a shot of a “Nudist Christian Church” banner. What the fuck is wrong with Miami?

**Holy shit, he tried to sexually molest Julliette Lewis!

 **Run! Run from the scantily-clad women!

** Bass Player and his main squeeze frolic in the surf. It’s like “From Here to Ickternity”!

**Look, a fat Patrick Swayze!

**The Unnamed Band recruit Gay Guevara!

**”Get my job back and any money I make is yours!” Wait, did you think this through? Would you like to talk to your accountant first?


**Drummer Guy shows off his skills of getting beaten up by Y.K! It’s a living, I supposed.

**”Am I in position? Okay, hit me. Quickly, it might look staged, otherwise,”

**Slow-downed knife-kwon-do. This might become relevant later, one assumes.

**”I got your nose!”

**Oh God, they’re giving Jack the Drummer a dialogue scene.. and he’s the worst. Actor. In the mo-ho-ovie. I think. He’s like a stutt..ering Shat. Ner.

**Don’t let’ Y.K make a speech!

 **Look, the cast of RENT is eating at the bands favourite diner.

**Hey’ don’t dine-and-dash an old Korean man. You’ll be sorrrr-y!

**Oh, God, could that guys short shorts be any.. shorter? And tighter?

**What is this films deal with giving speeches to people who don’t speak more than nine words of English?

**”Five guys in the band, with one shirt between them.

**Jeff, AKA Gay Guevara hangs out in a  gym, full of sweaty, bearded men. Now THERE’s a surprise.

**Blown line! Another blown line! Three in a row! You go, Jeff! Fuck the Method!

**Nu-Wave music covers up the dialogue. Best idea the director ever made.

**Ooh, a trainyard rumble.. a staple of bad martial arts movies for over thirty years!

**Was that Gary Busey attacking the bands car? Psst, wrong movie Gary!

**Actually, this movie could USE a little Busey. As you were, Gary!

**Axl Roses’s shirt must have exploded at some stage.

**Guys, you invited martial artists to an ambush, and no-one brought a GUN? It’s 1980’s Miami, you could probably buy one out of a vending machine!

**That guy just smashed his own face into a train. Probably what happened to the scriptwriter.

**Anorexic Axl tries to bury himself like a groundhog. Then does a little dance. He’s awesome.

**Hey, this universe DOES have police in it!

**The exact same type of police as in RAPPIN’! “Where did they go? Who cares, let’s go!”.

**Why was that cop so Canadian?

**Great, we’re filming at an ACTUAL bikie rally. Head Ninja somehow fails to fit in.


**Che’s gang pull up. Look, Hells Pussies have arrived!

**Meanwhile, back at Dragon Sound’s pad, everyone practises the art of Eschewing Shirts.

**”I’m writing a new song.. it’s called “Where Did Those Ninjas From the Start of the Film Go?”. We should play it soon!”

**MAIL CALL! I hope we get another moving pathos scene!

**Another day, another diner.

**Oh no, they’re Kidnapping Hall! Or Oates. Or whoever the lead singer is trying to be.

**Gay Geuvara drinks Coors Light. Even his BOOZE is kind of gay.

**Hall/Oates gets hogtied to a scaffold. Did this just turn into a MAD MAX rip-off?

**The guards get taken out with Weak-Ass-Fu. I think Morgana could hit harder.

**Look, if you stand in the huge spotlight, you have to expect to get kicked in the face.

**Y.K kicks ass by the power of shonky editing!

**Keyboard Player Guy has the most pansy-assed Martial Arts Scream I’ve ever heard. It’s the “Oh, no you di’int!” of screams.

**Gay Geuvara takes the big fall, with additional echo chamber effects. Bye dude.. you were fun!

**”Boss, your brother Jeff is dead!” Wait, what? Unless you mean “Brother in arms”, that’s odd, seeing as he’s white and you’re Korean. And if he WAS your brother, then Jane’s your sister and oh God my head just exploded.

**”HE WILL NOT ESCAPE THE MIAMI NINJA!” I’m thinking of getting that tattooed on some part of my body.

**Ninja Training Montage!”

**Oh, look.. mail! I hope it’s a mail-order shirt catalogue!”

**My Father! MY FATHER! *voice escalates eight octaves* I FOUND MY FATHER!* *glass shatters*

**Slow-mo scene! If they’d freeze-framed on the Keyboard player pumping his fist in the air, I wouldn’t have complained about the short running time.

**Is this the “getting ready for the prom” montage from every John Hughes movie?

**Wow, this scene is so heart-warming and life-affirming. I hope nothing bad happens to anyone now they’re all so happy.

**Hugs all round! Manly ones, of course.

**And the Ninjas are back! Yayyyy!

**On motorcycles. In Miami. In broad daylight. I want to marry this movie.

**”Oh. Ninjas”. BEST. LINE. EVER.

**And he delivered it like the ninjas were minor road works slowing him down.

**”Quick, into the tiniest patch of Everglades we could find!”


**JEFFFFFF! JEFFFF! Jeffjeffjeffjeffjeff!


**Oh no, they pissed off a Bass Player!




**Bass Player Guy gets sliced in the back by a guy six feet behind him! What the hell?


**Oh, dear Lord I just realised they’re playing a dramatic, slowed down synth version of “Friends Forever”. My night is complete.

**That is one ANGRY Bass Player. No bass player should be able to show that much emotion.

**White Ninja vs. Y.K! It’s be a Fractured English-Off!

**He’s got a knife! I wonder?

**Will it pay off?

** Hooray, closure!

**Freeze-Frame! Great movIT’S STILL GOING!

**He didn’t survive, did he?

**YES! And his bizarrely younger-than-he-is father has arrived! Too bad his spilled all that talcum powder in his hair.


**Best Gag ever: The final credit “ONLY THROUGH THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE CAN WE ACHIEVE WORLD PEACE.” Ballsy touch, Movie.

And we’re done.

Greatest movie of 1987.

I returned to the stalls for the final film. My stomach ached from laugher. Or so I thought at the time. It actually ached off and on for a week. And then I did an ill-advised imitation of my Mandroid stunt fall while talking about the Marathon. Now it REALLY aches, seeing as I must have either pulled a muscle, or tweaked the hell out of the site of my appendix operation. Or possibly both.

There’s a reason doctors don’t advise you to take up stunt work right after an operation, folks. One of these days I have to remember that I’m 38 fucking years old and stop doing stupid shit like that.

I can’t see it happening, mind you.

And so, the final DVD’s were flung into the crowd and  the curtains opened for the last time in 2011. And Dave Brough was suddenly a very happy man.

PART 14-How to get a Head in College



I have a very soft spot for REANIMATOR. It was film I watched on VHS back in the 80’s and 90’s. I’ve probably only seen it 3 times, but as I mentioned in a previous review, it did lead to a viewing of the sequel, BRIDE OF REANIMATOR… with my church Youth Group. I picked it. Our Youth Leader was kind of awesome. Being a horror movie, that movie also was the night I had my first instance of platonic, but still enjoyable snuggling under a blanket with a member of the opposite sex.

It’s a weird choice for a “date movie”, but it worked for me.

But the original is Dave Brough’s favourite movie of all time. And he did of course erupt with a joyful cry of “It’s REANIMATOR! WOOHOO!” the moment the very first scene faded up. (Much like I did in the first 6/10ths of a second of COMMANDO)

It did fade up without sound, of course. The audio glitch was sorted out within two minutes, although not before someone brought the house down by dubbing all the actors.

I’m not going to recap REANIMATOR. You’ve probably seen it already. If you haven’t seen it already, then see it. Dave will probably have a copy he’ll be willing to show you, Possibly more than one. It’s a great watch.

Unless you like cats.

SUNDAY, 15:00(ish)



And so 2011 was in the books. We cleaned up and stumbled outside to the Hollywood’s steps for the usual post-‘Thon final chat and dispersal. Dawn showed up around 20 minutes or so after I phoned home, meaning I was one of the last to leave as usual. Which I like, as there’s always someone you run into that you just didn’t get to hang out with during the show.

We invited Darren back to Chez Skeeter for  a post-show roast chicken dinner. (Mmm.. real food!) The early start time meant we had time to chill out and gainour thirteenth wind. As well as comb my DVD collection for something we could use as a no-brainer “warm down” film. C’mon down, THE MUMMY!

After a good dinner and much mindless Brendan Fraser frivolity later, Darren headed home. Sensibly, I decided to stay up and start writing this review. At around 10pm, I wrote a paragraph that was 98% total gibberish, and called it a night.

Hello bed. I missed you.


The Final Thoughts

Solid, solid line-up. Several films have been added to my “Must Own” list, as well as one to my “Don ‘t Rewatch this. Ever” list. (A much smaller list, really) Ant had said this year was all about him, not us. But in fourteen films, there was very little for genre fans to complain about. DIDN’T YOU HEAR was the “Breaking Point” flick most people, but that being said, elicited the most discussion as well. Marathons aren’t supposed to be easy, or everyone would do it.

Another year that proves to me that Ant could keep programming these for years to come, and still have such sights to show us.  

Just not all on 35mm, sad to say.

Nov. 22nd, 2011


The 2011 Fatso.co.nz Marathon Mixtape Tracklist


1) “Good evening folks…”
2) The Mummy Returns-A Call to Adventure
3) The Disappearance of Alice Creed-OK
4) Snack Attack-(from “Rappin”)
5) Let Me In-First Date Jitters
6) The Human Tornado-(from “The Human Tornado”)
7) Exorcist 2: The Heretic-Regans Theme
8)8) Moonshiners Woman-Radio Spot
9) Beach Red-Jean Wallace (from “Beach Red”)
10) Medal Of Honor-Mansion House Rally
11) Don’t Look in the Basement-Theatrical Trailer
12) Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)-(from “Iron Eagle”)
13) Miracle Mile-Running out of Time
14) Mothras Song-(from “Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth”)
15) Loves Dream-(from “Lisztomania”)
16) INTERMISSION: The Riviera Affair (As heard in “Oceans 13”)
17) Good Morning-(from “Singin’ in the Rain”)
18) Twister-Oklahoma
19) We May Never Love Like This Again-(from “The Towering Inferno”)
20) Rubber-Everything is Fake
21) Saw II-Don’t Forget the Rules
22) Truck Turner-Main Titles
23) Let the Right One In-Eli’s Theme
24) Weird Science-(from “Weird Science”)
25) Monsters vs. Aliens-Ginormica’s Theme


1) “And Now Our Feature Presentation”-(Funky Fanfare-Keith Mansfield)
2) St Elmo’s Fire-(from “St Elmo’s Fire”)
3) Ghostbusters-Main Theme
4) Pretty in Pink-(from “Pretty in Pink”)
5) Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs-Introducing Flint
6) Pet Semetary-(from “Pet Semetary”)
7) Finding Nemo-Fronds Like These
8)8) Xanadu-(from “Xanadu”)
9) On Her Majesty’s Secret Service-Main Theme
10) Fight Night-(from “Fright Night”)
11) Clue-Main Titles/Trees to Dogs
12) Why Don’t You Do Right?-(from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”)
13) Cry Little Sister-(from “The Lost Boys”)
14) Death Sport-Radio Spot
15) Fight to Survive-(from “Bloodsport”)
16) Ghostbusters Rap-(from “Ghostbusters II”)
17) Inglourious Basterds-Rabbia e Tarantella
18) Friday Foster-Radio Spot
19) Rocky IV-Training Montage
20) Love Kills-(from “Metropolis (1984 re-release)”)
21) Airplane!-Love Theme
22) Space Raiders-Radio Spot
23) Wall-E – Eve
24) Top Gun-Top Gun Anthem
25) Backdraft-Show Me Your Firetruck

Nov. 16th, 2010


The 2010 Vendetta Movie Marathon, Prologue



And so it begins. Again. The lead up to the 2010 Marathon has been one of the smoothest build-ups in several years. (For us, anyway. Ant is apparently still changing the line-up on a hourly basis. Just go with your gut, dude.) No sponsorship hassles has been forthcoming. There were polls on the Marathon Forum checking as to what the best dates for the show would be some months in advance, putting us salivating regulars in a much more relaxed mood than usual. (When Ant made a brief joke about cancelling the entire show a few year back, the howls of anguish were pitiful to see.)

In some ways, this has been the story of my year. At the time of the 2009 Marathon, I was trapped in a frustrating, go-nowhere job selling wine over the phone, broke as hell, with a one-year-old to feed. This year? Well, I’m in a fantastic, rewarding job selling wine over the phone. Yes, it’s the same job, but after months of pleading and being threatened with termination for failing to reach sales targets, I was transferred from the Outbound Sales Team to the Inbound Customer Services Team.

And what a difference it made. Suddenly I was no longer the scum of the earth, calling people at odd hours to shill Shiraz at them. Now I’m that nice young(okay, -ish) man at the other end of the line, sorting out courier hassles, sharing my Wine-Nerd knowledge and yes, selling a lot of good wine. My sale figures skyrocketed, my pay packet increased and my stress levels evaporated.

Of course, A.C is now a two-year-old, so I still have no money some weeks. But that’s a small price to pay for having a kid whose idea of “Helping Daddy get ready for work” means I unexpectedly find a Captain Scarlet DVD boxset in my bag at work. I guess he thought I might get bored.

Preparations have been coming along nicely, too. The 2010 Marathon Mixtape was assembled nice and early, with one twist on the last few editions. This year, my CD resembles my Reviews in needing an editor… the thing blew out to the first 2-Disc set I’ve ever created, due in part to a wealth of “Personal Holy Grail” tracks I’d acquired this year. Stan Busch’s “The Touch” from the animated Transformers movie, “Running Away With You (Restless Heart)” from THE RUNNING MAN, and a bad-quality, cobbled-together Youtube rip of the “Everybody’s Got Something to Do (But You)” earworm from last years mind-boggling NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR all made the cut.

So did a Leonard Nimoy song. No-one’s going to thank me for that.

I’ve been told I’m in the coveted Beanbag Section this year, and for the first time I’ll be able to take up the offer properly. A new workmate at the winery offered me a “Quite large” beanbag, so long as I didn’t mind one with a little cat hair attached. Since Sasha, the long-haired Psycho-Kitty sadly headed to the Big Ball o’ Wool in the Sky a few months after last year’s Marathon, I’ll probably find that quite comforting. R.I.P, you yowling, biting furball.

My non-functional torches have been replaced with a brand-spanking new pocket-sized one just this week. Cherie has still bet me a dollar it putts out half-way through the show.

Speaking of which, most of the regulars look like they’ll be in attendance this year. The B-Movie Crew are looking to be in near full attendance, with regulars Doug Dillaman, the two Steves (Austin and Chow), Cherie and new B-Movie Crewbie Glenn all booked in. Glenn has been a Marathon regular as long as I recall, but just started turning up at Chez Skeeter this year. Oddly, he was able to watch just the last few episodes of the 15-chapter Batman and Robin serial we’d plowed through and work out the gist of the story quite easily. Let’s just say its final twist wasn’t the 1940’s equivalent to THE USUAL SUSPECTS. Another new face, Darryn Waugh. also looks likely to be there. (Who marked his entry to the Crew by treating us to the mind-bending BLUE SUNSHINE.) And Al, new to the Crew and director of a 48-Hours short film I helped make last year with Hybrid Films is back for his second show.

Since I helped write the short, it would be a little self-centred of me to link to it, right? But hey, we won Best Cinematography and Best Use of the Required Line, so what the hell.

Long-distance attendees include Andrew Todd and members of his “Battle Shark 2: Urban Jaws” film crew from Christchurch, and Dave Brough and friends who are road-tripping up from Wellington.

And happily, one of the Crew, Campbell Cooley, (Who shall always be known as “BATTLESHARK!” to me after a tiny piece of cameo acting I did with him last year.) is returning for his second annual 24-hour brainrape. Last year’ 5 KM Non-fun Run meant by the time I got set up there was no way to elbow my way to his proximity during the show. Since Campbell and I share a strong interest in the most important facet of Exploitation Film-making, (That being the number and quality of gratuitous boob shots in the production) I’m really looking forward to hanging with him during anything that looks even remotely sleazy.

Speaking of which, Ant is promising to shake up the “traditional” Marathon line-up this time out. Possibly more newer films are on the cards. I have no problem with this, although he also hinted at the possibility of an 80’s-free affair for the first time. But then how will I get my yearly dose of awesome mullets and day-glo? He also contemplated a film that went to the fabled “LEVEL SEVEN” of Audience-Hurtyness, then retracted this. I’m hoping he still plays it. Hell, if I can sit through BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL and nearly HALF of THE MANIPULATOR, he can’t have anything to hurt me, can he?

Actually, knowing Ant, I bet he does.

My usual “Training regime” has begun anew, with a selection of previous Marathon flicks getting an airing. Or half an airing in the case of BURIAL GROUND. Man, that thing is deliberately paced when you watch it solo. It also amazes me that the director managed to shoot an entire movie where practically everything is the same shade of beige. I’ve also collected a bunch of Youtube weirdness, and if time permits I’ll slap it on a disc in case Ant needs mid-movie filler.

Three weeks out from the show, Ant once again announced a Marathon Trailer contest. Twenty days to shoot/edit/half-ass your best 30-second trailer for the ‘Fest. With a thousand dollars worth of DVD’s up for grabs, I first fired a script idea to Al and the Hybrid guys, knowing I’d have no time to join them for a shoot. They’re making a trailer, but I have no idea if my ideas were used at all. Afterward I grabbed the trusty camcorder, Aidens 13-inch Godzilla plush and shot one of the worst-lit trailers ever to grace the silver screen. It was a four-take affair, with two whole shots that had to be edited together. My technical skills suck and I use Windows Movie Maker (Extra-Crashy Edition), so it’s about as good as you’d expect.

My second trailer, featuring various items from my pantry re-enacting classic movie roles isn’t much better. Sadly, several performances had to be snipped for time constraints. (Including a toothpick-studded orange complete with drawn on face who did a pretty decent Pinhead.) My last effort was a simple still picture mashup of Marathon-screened movie posters set to the music from NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR. I don’t think any will win, but I’m quite fond of my full-length “Directors Cut” of the poster trailer.


Plenty of trailers have been posted on the Marathon Facebook page, further solidifying my three as “Amateur Hour” productions. Dave Brough also posted a home-made effort, involving him gyrating naked save for a strategically-placed movie poster. I shall never sleep again.

The beanbag has been secured and de-furred with the help of plenty of packing tape. My winery co-workers have had to put up with my now traditional “Playing of the Marathon Discs” weekend. (Which now takes about 75% of BOTH the Saturday and Sunday shifts to accomplish, due to the 6 full CD’s in the mix.) Interestingly, only one American tourist remarked on the “non-traditional winery music”. And that was during an AC/DC number. In West Auckland.

Hybrids trailer (a nicely shot slasher homage) hit the Facebook page today. I’m now hoping my trailer gets a sympathy clap and maybe a cheap laugh or two.

My other creative effort, a spur-of-the-moment “Survival Guide” was good enough to warrant a spot on the official homepage. (Multiple mis-spellings and all.) Considering it was just an excuse to warm-up my typing fingers again after a years lay-off, and get a few bad jokes on paper, I’m quietly pleased with that fact. Ant’s even added one of my tips (Noisy snacks OUT of bags and into nice, quiet containers) to the Official Marathon Codes of Conduct.


One sleep to go. I’m getting worried about my distinct LACK of preparation this year. Sure, the CD’s are stowed away, the clothing is packed and the water bottle (singular, as one appears to have gone walkabout this year) is chilling out in the freezer. And yet I’ve got no snacks in the house (I figure I’ll just raid the Hollywoods snack bar all night), am still undecided on whether I should sneak the camcorder in again (despite a new “NO CAMERAS!” rule I’ll almost certainly ignore to get some stills at least) and haven’t even made up that inter-movie Disc o’ Weirdness yet. Oh well. I think I’ve done this enough times to just stick some cash in my pocket and go with the flow.

Kid-on-Christmas-Eve Syndrome is kicking in. Time to give the house a cursory tidy and play GTA until my thumbs fall off. Big day on the morrow…


Prologue: Nerds In Paradise

The morning of the 11TH Annual Marathon dawned… well, overcast and gloomy to tell the truth. Yep, for the first time since moving to the Hollywood it looked like we’d be lining up in the drizzle. I’d crashed out around midnight, hoping A.C’s current trend of waking up around 8:30 and playing happily with his toys for half an hour or before waking us up would continue. As you can probably guess, this Saturday he woke up before 8AM, ignored his trucks and just rattled his gate until I crawled grumpily out of bed. Awesome. Some movie was going to turn into a random, meaningless series of images in the wee small hours. Again.

A last-minute e-mail came through from Darren Waugh, disappointingly signalling his no-show. He’s appearing in a stage adaptation of FOOTLOOSE and was committed to a double dress-rehearsal. It’s a pity, but he does have the juicy role of the uptight preacher, making him the Stage Adaptation John Lithgow, which is pretty cool no matter how you slice it.

After last years Running Man fiasco and my last-second appearance at the ’08 show, I was determined to arrive fairly early this time out. With a 3PM start time, the doors were opening at 2:15 to let in the Beanbag Army. I was aiming to set out around 1:30 for the 15-minute long trip.

With my recent history of stuff-ups, I’m sure you can guess how well that went to plan. Cue Aiden waking up late for his lunch, a rolling block of slow-as-molasses Saturday Traffic and our usual “Is the get-on-the-motorway-and-backtrack or the direct-down-Great-North-Road route faster?” debate. Next year, someone text the phrase “IT’S THE MOTORWAY, STUPID!” the day before, yeah?

We hit Avondale right on the dot of 2:15 in the end, and thankfully the threatened rain hadn’t eventuated. The Big Line o’ Geeks was extending the length of the block and around the corner. Dawn did a quick stop-and-drop across the road. Between my backpack, cooler bag, triple pack of wine and half-filled beanbag, I must have looked like one of those weird bag-lady creatures from the end of LABYRINTH. I quickly skirted the queue, avoiding eye-contact with the Balcony and Stalls Brigade until I reached the tail-end of the beanbaggers. I immediately ran into Campbell, thanks to his eye-scarringly red Incredibly Strange TV T-shirt. I’d gone with my faded Ramones t-shirt, but had packed the exact same shirt as Campbell for my halftime change of ensemble. (Trust me, even the least sweaty persons shirt gets RANK at a Movie Marathon.)

Doug caught up with us a minute or two later, allowing me to start handing out the Marathon CD’s while we waited to head indoors. (I had put a ‘secret phrase’ of “Michael Bay make Big Boom” online as a code to claim a disc, but on the day not one person could remember it.) I also slipped Glenn a couple of Joe Sarno flicks he wanted, along with REVENGE OF THE CHEERLEADERS. (Which he may NOT thank me for after Hoff gets his tackle out.) I had also secured a copy of FANGS for Marathon regular Dave Stuckey after finding an average-quality VHS-rip of this out-of-print flick at long last. I was told he had something to give me in exchange. Expecting a copy of some obscure flick, I was blown away when he arrived, bearing a full-sized one-sheet of GUYANA, CULT OF THE DAMNED. (Which in a beautiful touch features a topless woman wearing a hastily over-printed bikini top.) Thanks a million, dude. Although I have no idea where I can hang the thing. Might be time to rearrange my Bogart prints a little.

Ant and crew had the doors open soon after my arrival and we packed in with military precision. (Well, one of those low-budget militaries that Arnie mowed his way through in the 80’s, but military nonetheless.) I found Cherie, who been assigned a beanbag spot, but had instead taken a seat in the first row of the stalls, directly behind the B-Movie Crew. For the first time, we now took up the entire left-hand section of the auditorium. Regulars Annette, Kirsten and Sarah, Steve Austin’s’ partner were in the mix here, along with Andrew’s leading man from GHOST SHARK, Johnny Hall.

I dumped my beanbag in the middle of the crew and stashed my gear in the front row, along with Campbell, Steve Chow, Anthony Towler (Hybrids Continuity Guy for Chicane) and a new face from the GHOST SHARK crew whose name escapes me at the moment. (FUTURE SKEETER: An excellent group photo posted a day after the event allowed my to identify him as Anatol Bogun. Also in our group was 48-Hours Forum regular Darryn Goble, AKA “Dazzle”, Hybrids superb 1st AD, Ellie and Nicole, who I just found out is one of my Facebook friends, although I doubt we’ve met more than twice.) I figured I could switch between seat and beanbag as the night demanded it, and let Steve and Johnny use it as a footrest between times. When it became abundantly clear that even my fun-sized legs would never fit in that space without a lethal case of thigh cramps, I stashed in a convenient corner of the stalls for the first few films.

I distributed CDs at random, somehow managing to forget to give one to fellow soundtrack junkie Andrew Todd. By the time he caught up with me, I’d handed the last couple to a regular in the balcony I knew by face, but not by name. Apologies, A.T. I’ll send it to you electronically once this stupidly huge review gets done.

Our regular organist Margaret made her yearly appearance, giving the Mighty Wurlitzer a half-hour workout to a brilliantly random Video Mixtape. Cherie and I were glad she was focused on her keyboard, and didn’t realise her rendition of “Lullaby of Broadway” was accompanying the caption “TEN WAYS TO A STRONGER ERECTION” at one stage.

I settled in and did a quick stock take of my bag to work out what I’d left behind this year. Because there’s always something, right? My breakfast cereal was there, complete with the spoon I left behind in ’09. I found out 12 hours later I’d left the milk at home, of course. I had both my pen and my emergency pencil in case I lost the pen. I lost the pencil, instead. (Again. I’m nothing if not consistent.) Change of shirt, trackpants, sweatshirt, check. Spare socks? Nope.

All in all, pretty much my sloppiest survival kit ever.

At a little after 3PM, Margaret launched into the STAR WARS theme (to the usual excellent reception) and dropped out of sight. Ant was on stage seconds later, managing not to snag himself on anything this year. He gave one of the most awesomely disjointed intros I’ve ever heard him deliver, threatening to destroy iPads on sight and dish out physical pain to chip-packet rustlers. To sum it up, he had a lot of new films to screen, some of the usual brain-breaking 3AM flicks and, if all went according to plan, he was aiming to set a new record this year. Which by my count meant cramming FIFTEEN films into the next 24-Hours. So once again, there would be very short breaks (if any at all), and everything in the projection booth would have to run like clockwork to keep things on schedule. Right after he also mentioned one of the projectionists worked so hard he had a heart attack the past year.

I’m sure you hear the deep bass rumbling of Ominous Foreshadowing, right?

Or is that just the Air Conditioning?

Read on, and find out!

And so, at 10 after the hour, the lights dimmed, the curtains swept aside and we headed back into the Heart of Darkness once again.

The 2010 Vendetta Movie Marathon, Part 1

Part 1: Don’t Fuck with Chuck, Part 1

Even if Ant was giving the line-up a bit of freshen-up this year, we were starting off with the mid-fifties “Cinema Classic” spot once again. As someone who digs Film Noir, but can lose focus on dialogue-heavy films if I’m overtired, I think they should play as early as possible. Hit me with one in the middle of a Marathon and I’d spend an hour going “Who’s that guy again? I can’t figure out the plot! Bwaaaagh!”

Admittedly, our Men in Fedoras flick this year wouldn’t have strained my cranium too badly. It’s a pretty low-budget affair, starring Don Ross and the statuesque Chuck Conners . (Seriously, either the leading man is a midget or Chuck is HUGE!-FUTURE SKEETER: I was right. A little research tells me Conners was six-five and briefly played center for the Boston Celtics.) Ross plays Lieutenant Dan Lawton (Start your Forest Gump puns now!), who’s just been drafted out of the Army following a stint in Korea. We first see him ducking compulsively after a car backfires in the street. One wibbbly-wobbly dissolve later and we’re watching him in Korea. Oddly, we never dissolve back out, implying that the entire flick is one giant flashback.

In Korea, Dan’s getting a giant mouthful of attitude from his Sergeant, Tommy Gerrick, who was passed over for the commission. His snarly attitude, coupled with the rather melodramatic dialogue amused a lot of the crowd immensely. Sergeant Insubordination even gets a good case of the crazy eyes going. His would be the first of a long, LONG line of bugged-out eyeballs we’d see that night. Soon afterwards the Sarge writes a letter home, containing the Kiss of Death phrase: “If something should happen to me, like getting killed…”. The odds of him getting out alive suddenly blow out to the same odds of me running the Boston Marathon. Naked.

One scene later, Dan and company come under fire on Lookout Ridge. One person fails to look out, and yes, it’s the Sarge. The poor guys death scene (stop, assume a pose like he’s thrown only ONE hand in the air and really, REALLY does care, then fall down…) got laughed at by the audience. The Sarge just can’t cut a break. Luckily, his letter pretty much blaming Dan for his untimely demise has been delivered (without a single piece of censorship, I might add.) to his brother Lurch. Well, he’s actually called Frank, but as he’s being played by Chuck Conners, he’s as tall as Lurch, at least. The missive arrives mere minutes before Dan comes knocking at the door. I assume that means the Sarge was the last American casualty in the Korean War, and Dan got to head home next day. Either that or the U.S Army Postal Service just plain sucks.

Lurch seems fairly cordial at first, although his many, MANY sideways glances run the gauntlet from “Slightly annoyed” to “I’m going to spend the next eight years studying medicine for the sole purpose of being able to identify each of the organs I cut out of you” kind of mad.

And wouldn’t you know it, Lurch is a Big Game Hunter. This doesn’t bode well for Dan. What didn’t bode well for US was to have Lurch offer to show Dan some footage of his previous hunts. CUE THE STOCK FOOTAGE!

Ooh, monkeys! Tigers! Elephants. Geez, what is this, a 1950’s Bigfoot flick?

Eventually we get the classic exchange about how he must have hunted every thing there is to hunt. No, no… there’s one thing he hasn’t taken down yet.

Hey! Is this an adaptation of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, you ask? Why yes, yes it is! An urban one. You see, Lurch has the worlds only two Camera Guns, 30-30 rifles that take a tiny canister of film instead of a bullet. The “test photo” of Lurches’ goofily-smiling dog in the crosshairs got a good laugh. And since Lurch’s heart problems have prevented him from going hunting for real, he challenges Dan to a friendly human hunt. But let’s face it, you’d have to be crazy to take him up, even for $10,000, right?

Oh, did I mention Dan is $5,000 in debt after his business caught fire?

I’m calling it, folks. This movie is asking us to suspend our disbelief almost as much as CRANK. In fact, let’s list a few of the things we’re expected to take on faith.

**That you can create a gun that can be loaded with either a live bullet or a tiny roll of film, and both work perfectly by simply pulling the trigger.
**That after creating this insane gun, you then build a SECOND one? Why? No reason. (Foreshadowing, foreshadowing…)
**That Lurch just happens to be loaded, while Dan’s business partner let the insurance on his sporting goods store lapse JUST before a devastating fire.
**That two guys strolling the city streets in broad daylight carrying rifle cases was in no way considered “suspicious” in the fifties.
**That two experienced hunters would simply wander around the designated Hunting Ground, rather than finding a concealed spot and sniping his opponent from cover.
**That someone going out to be stalked and “shot” would tell the owner of his hotel exactly where he intended to go. (Presumably this was intended to be bait for an ambush. So why all the random wandering around?)
**That once you realise your opponent is on board the abandoned ship you’re hiding on, you stalk him with your gun still safely zipped in its case. GUNS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!
**That Lurch couldn’t hear a taxi leaving from a spot ten feet from him in an abandoned shipyard. Screw the heart condition dude, get your hearing checked!
**That the truly obvious tactic of sending your opponent a business card for the place you’d like to shoot him results in your opponent heading straight to the place you’d like to shoot him.
**That when the police arrest an aggressive, wild-eyed guy like Lurch and find he’s carrying a 30-30 rifle loaded with a single bullet, they’re quite happy to turn him loose because it’s not a concealed weapon. Although being that it’s the 50’s in America, that may be more realistic than I think. Hell, there’s probably still states where you can strip off, tie a red, white and blue bandana around you tackle and run down the road firing your pistol in the air and people will just think you’re celebrating the Fourth of July a little early.
**That an vehicle of choice for an experienced hunter is a lakeside pedal boat.
**That two men can be in the same (tiny) sporting goods store with out ever noticing the other.
**That sporting goods store employees will sell a single bullet to a sweating, irrational man who collapses in your store. (Again, see my point about America)
**That a car dealer will happily accept a handful of money thrown at him and just let you drive off without so much as looking at the paperwork.
**That a man in a sports car can look sillier than the same man in a pedal boat. (Tiny car, basketball-player sized Chuck Conners… he looked like he’d be better off tucking the car under one arm and running down the road.)
**That chasing a guy down the street with a loaded rifle and scaring him into a fatal heart attack is yet another things the cops seemingly dismiss as “Youthful Hijinks”. (And if this movie IS a flashback, apparently means you get to keep the gun afterwards.)

Yes, there’s a ton of moments in this flick that need to be taken with a pretty huge grain of salt. Chuck Conners over-the-top heart attack acting garnered a lot of chuckles from the crowd, and his descent into madness did likewise. Mainly because it happened so quickly it was less of a descent and more of a plummet. That being said, I found it an entertaining watch. There was a beautiful shot as a young couple making out pull back from a kiss, revealing Chuck framed between their heads like the Angel of Death. Andrew Todd immediately decided to steal that setup for his flick.

And at seventy minutes or so, it never outstayed its welcome.

Running Themes, Go!

Car Crashes?: A doozy of a fender bender. Stay focused behind the wheel, people!
Denigration of Women?: Slapped around by the villain, then yelled at by our Hero. Which was kind of a dick move.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: I wouldn’t mess with a batshit insane Chuck Conners.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: Top tip. Never leave your loaded weapon where your prey might happen to pick it up accidentally.
Big Twist Ending?: It tried to inject a few spins on a well-worn story, but this Theme became more regular as the night wore on.

And as a little nod to 2009, let’s check THE RULES:

CARDIO?: Those two did a LOT of long-distance running, in suits no less, so yes.
DOUBLE-TAP?: Tough to do when you only pack one bullet.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: Even if that car was a station wagon, Chuck Conners would still fill all the available space.

Skeeters’ Summary: A solid, if unspectacular start to the night.

Part 2- Love Means Never Having to Pull on a Gun on Someone.

With Ant eyeing up the Most Films Screened record, we had about two minutes to get set for our first premiere. And it’s probably the film I’ll say the least about, due to its twisting, tightly-written plot. I’ll just give you the basics. It’s a British crime drama, with a cast of just three on-screen actors, the majority of which takes places in two rooms. Yep, it’s one of those compact, claustrophobic films that the Marathon seems made for. The performances are uniformly excellent and the script is top-notch. The ending fumbles the ball slightly for me, dragging out the finale a shade long, but it’s a minor quibble in the scheme of things.

Yep, that’s all I really have to say about this movie. Any discussion of the plot would just be spoilers, and it’s the type of flick that’d be much better watching cold. The great audience reaction to one plot twist proved that nicely.

This flick was also the moment that I realised I’d be shopping for new supplies next year. At the start of WALK THE DARK STREET I’d discovered my water bottle was still frozen solid, forcing me to crack my first can of V a movie or two ahead of schedule. (To accompany the two cups of java I’d had at home.) But it wasn’t the caffeine I’d drunk that ensured I was wide awake for this flick. It was the fact that when I retrieved my bottle from the cooler bag a second time, I ended up with a lapful of freezing cold water. For the rest of the show I wasn’t overly sure if I’d filled the bottle too much and split the base, or if it was just a shitload of condensation due to the melting ice.

I checked the drink bottle, post-show. I’ve killed it. Three tiny cracks have opened up, which acted like a crotch-seeking sprinkler when I squeezed the thing. The only upside was I still in a pair of quick-drying board shorts. And that it was too dark for anyone to see I’d apparently found this flick terrifying.

Car Crashes?: In a low-speed kind of way, and that van didn’t fare too well either.
Denigration of Women?: Very much so.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Check!
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: Several times over.
Big Twist Ending?: This thing has more twists than a strand of DNA.

CARDIO?: Run, Danny, Run!
DOUBLE-TAP?: If he had, the ending would have been REALLY depressing.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: In this case, check the passenger seat. And the back of the van.

Skeeters’ Summary: Some films give you a creepy vibe right from the opening. This is most definitely one of them. Top stuff.

We took a brief break, so I stretched my legs outside. And discovered that the dairy of Sanjeev the Parking Nazi was no more. Nothing but a vacant lot stood next to the Hollywood. I initially wondered if disgruntled Marathon-ers had finally gotten sick of him towing away their cars and had dismantled his shop brick by brick before I arrived. Turned out he’d just moved down the road a little.

I got back to my seat just as the third movie started rolling. My eyes were fixed on my feet to avoid stepping on Campbell (As I’d already done that at least twice in the first few hours.) Steve Austins’ whoops of “Cannon Films!” made my head shoot up, though. Cannon? A Golan-Globus Production? DAY-GLO?!

No Eighties films, huh Ant?

I love it when that man lies to us.

And so, prepare for my attempt at recapping our third flick in the only style possible.

Time to bust some rhymes, yo.

Part 3-Stop, collaborate and laugh your ass off!
Staurday 18:10-RAPPIN’!

What’s appeared on-screen?
It’s the goofiest movie I ever seen!
A low-budget flick from eighty-five,
Man, some people here weren’t even alive!
To play this flick takes balls of brass,
‘Cause we all remember BREAKIN’ dying on it’s ass!
But this one looks like it’s gonna be good,
With Mario van Peebles playin’ “Rappin’ John Hood!

(Warm it up, John! Warm it up, John! Warm it up, John! Warm it up, John!)

We first see John walkin’ down the street,
With his ghetto blaster pumpin’ out a kickin’ beat.
And he’s droppin’ some rhymes that are full of self-hype
And everyone he meets is a stereotype!
There’s the old Jewish lady and the grumpy Greek guy,
And he raps at them as he passes by.
Then he spots four guys, they’re his old rappin’ crew.
From the cast of “Electric Boogaloo”!

(Looking’ real gay! Looking’ real gay! Looking’ real gay! Looking’ real gay!)

John’s s’posed to be tough, but I have my doubts,
Think he’d get his ass kicked by Eagle Scouts!
And he’s got one homie that’s really fat,
And a dorky little brother in a Johnny Reb hat!
Now we meet Grandma, who don’t take no crap.
Man, God help us all if she tries to rap!
And the place that they’re livin’, it’s safe to say,
Is the shittest ‘hood in the U.S A!

(Fuckin’ Pittsburgh! Fuckin’ Pittsburgh! Fuckin’ Pittsburgh! Fuckin’ Pittsburgh!)

At the local night club, John avoids a fight,
With the lamest bad guy of the whole damn night.
He dresses in leather and he promises pain,
But no muthas’ scary when his name is Dwayne!
And two gang members try to settle a score,
With the gayest dance-off you ever saw.
Now Dwayne’s girlfriend Dixie is mighty sweet,
But I think she gonna trade up for a little dark meat

(Jungle fever! Jungle fever! Jungle fever! Jungle fever!)

Now Dixie’s working for a record company,
That’s looking for rappers, coincidentally.
And she thinks that if he wins it, then he’ll go far.
Even though that it’s being held in a shitty dive bar.
And the record comp’ny guy looks mighty weird,
‘Cause I think that he’s wearing a pubic beard!
But before the contest starts, we’ll pad the plot
With some unconnected raps that just ain’t so hot.

(Snack Attack, y’all! Snack Attack, y’all! Snack Attack, y’all)

Script’s old and hoary,
“South-Central Story”.
But I do have to say
That at least it don’t bore me.


Okay, that’s enough of that. Yet another example of why 99.98% of white guys shouldn’t rap. Besides, this film has so much material to work with, I couldn’t cover it in a rap. A triple-disc concept album would barely do it justice. So let’s dispense with my attempts at dropping lyrical bombs and just go to the Big List o’ Things I Remember.

**Man, was the audio mix muddy as hell at first, or what? Either it was an ominous sign of things to come, or everyone who watched this film switched it off fifteen minutes in.
**Johns homies are a classic multi-racial Hollywood gang! I especially liked the Latino dude in the beret, as I’m sure he was part of Electro-Rock in BREAKIN’!
**Dwayne’s gang on the other hand was a pretty forgettable bunch. Dwaynes blonde hairstyle had more screen presence than most of his crew.
**The Dance-Off I mentioned in rap was incredible to behold. No man looks macho in a Dance-Off, but when you start pulling JAZZ BALLET moves, you’re probably risking getting gay-bashed… by gay guys. For acting too gay.
**Dwayne had a lot of pent-up aggression, but sadly chose to express it in some of the most awkwardly phrased threats I’ve heard in some time. Hilarity ensued.
**The clichéd Nice Girl dates Abusive Jerk storyline rears it’s ugly head again. And yet she’s so… spunky! So why IS she hanging with a paid-up member of the National Douchebags Club?
**Hood demonstrates Zen-like calm in the faces of Dwaynes marble-mouthed abuse. Either that or his acting style for this movie is inspired by a dressmakers dummy.
**Huge laugh as Hood takes out his frustration on a defenceless towel dispenser, then takes out the door of an occupied toilet stall for good measure.
**An EVVVVVVVVIL landlord is looking to kick all of the local tenants out and redevelop the area. Considering the place looks like Beruit after every building had hosted a Drunken Fratboys Convention, I’m sure the city is all for this idea.
**Speaking of ideas, this flick doesn’t have an original one in it’s entire running time. I get the feeling Cannon Films scripts were written via the “Mad-Libs” system.
**The “Rap Talent Contest” sign got one of the biggest groans of the night. Nineteen-eighty-fucking-five and they’re still pulling that Mickey and Judy shit. (I remarked that Ice-T HAD to be involved in that somehow. I was soon proved right.)
**”Snack Attack” came out of nowhere. A high-energy group rap about how the fat guy really loved food, it had jaws on the floor in seconds flat.
**Bonus points for ending it with the fat guy cramming handfuls of a fully decorated birthday cake in his maw… even though the number was set in a fruits and vegetable warehouse. Does he have the supernatural ability to manifest baked goods?
**Hood and co. liberate a ton of goods from the warehouse at the end of “Snack Attack” and distribute them around the neighbourhood. Apparently “Rappin’ Hood’s modus operandi is the steal from the moderately well-off and give to the just-getting-by.
**We leapt straight into an second unconnected musical number, a duet this time. The man was WILL AND GRACE-ing it up, but it was the woman I couldn’t take my eyes off. Every time she hit a high notes, her jaws seemed to dislocate like a python sucking down a pig. I was half-expecting a second set of jaws to shoot out, ALIEN-style and rip her singing partners jugular out.
**On the other hand, at least I could identify her gender. A later song number involved a kid who appeared to be the unholy love-child of Janet Jackson and Rick James. And not person in my row could work out if it was a boy or a girl. (Amazingly, having found a soundtrack listing, I still don’t know. The kid is simply called “Tuff”. I assume T.U.F.F is a clever acronym, as whatever else he(?) is, tough (s)he ain’t…)
**Evil Capitalist Guy sends his right-hand Uncle Tom into the Demilitarised Zone of a nighbourhood to serve eviction notices. He gets mildly menaced by Hood. In some parts of L.A, he’d be more likely to be mailed home in a variety of packages.
**Uncle Tom Guy does help prod the plot into action after John’s little brother swipes his radio. As John now has to raise the money to buy it back, I guess we WILL get to see him enter Rap-Quest ’85! Will he win? The suspense is killing me!
**No wait, that’s not suspense. That’s cramp. I may have to change seats soon.
**Hood freestyles for some neighbourhood kids. Turns out it’s easy to do, as the kids shout out nothing but colours for him to rap to. Needless to say, he doesn’t give Supernatural anything to be worried about.
**Appearing first in the Talent Quest… WE GOT ICE-T, baby! It’s rumoured he wrote all the raps for this film, although I doubt “Snack Attack” made his “Best Of” CD.
**Wait, is he wearing the exact same outfit from BREAKIN’? Did he even KNOW he was making a different movie?
**Ice T’s proto gangsta-rap is by far the best number in the film. Predictably, the whitest rap producer ever to walk the earth (he of the Pubic-Hair Beard) rejects him. I blame Ice’s keyboardist, who appears to escaped from a low-rent Kraftwerk tribute band.
**Our collective jaws hit the floorboards once more as the Force M.D’s perform “Itchin’ For a Scratch”, which probably isn’t an ode to genital lice, but sure the hell sound like it. (Sample lyric: “You’re in trouble son/I know for sure/’cause what you got/ain’t got no cure!/So take this beat/Go home and scratch/But stay away from me/’Cause it’s easy to catch!.” And to think I was worried about MY rap lyrics sounding stupid.)
**Hood breaks up a tepid bar fight… by rapping at people. THE POWER OF RAP COMPELLS YOU! THE POWER OF RAP COMPELLS YOU!
**Record Company Guy is so impressed with Hoods terrible rap, he practically vomits money to entice him to cut a demo. Has this guy even HEARD what a good rap song sounds like?
**Dwayne and company are hired by Uncle Tom Guy to raise a little ruckus in the neighbourhood. First order of business… getting Li’l Hood arrested! Good going, all you did was give him street cred. What’s next, are you going to maliciously give him a tattoo and wound him in a failed drive-by?
**Hood angrily storms into the headquarters of the Pasty White Marauders. Where we discover Dwayne’s bad-ass character trait.. he does CARD TRICKS! *gasp*
**Evil Capitalist Guy cuts off the gas to the street in the middle of winter. The authorities apparently find this perfectly acceptable. Geez, too bad a small town like Pittsburgh doesn’t have a local newspaper that could run a story on this guy
**Hods’ crew get the heat back on via a malicious beatdown of Comedy and Good Taste. This scene, where a local streetwalker (Who appears to have started a sex-change operation, then changed her(?) mind halfway through) seduces an oil company driver, lasts approximately 3 and a half hours. Although my watch doesn’t seem to back up that up. It must be broken.
**The Inexplicable Comedy Noises used in this scene were somewhat out of place, too. Guess someone had an LP of Hanana-Babera Sound Effects.
**Incidentally, should switched on radiators actually GLOW bright red? What is Hood trying to warm, the entire continent?
**Eventually, Dwayne and co. earn their Hired Goon Money by trashing the entire neighbourhood, one clichéd ethnicity at a time. They even flip over a hot dog cart. I doubt the Evil Capitalist wanted to redevelop that, unless a family of really tiny people were living inside it.
**And FINALLY John and Dwayne get set to square off, after John finds Dwayne’s’ gang beating down his crew. Dwayne takes a pummelling, although he’s probably lucky John didn’t decide to set it to a rap. I think the Geneva Convention probably has laws against that.
**Hilarity ensues as the cops turn up, see John limping away from an obvious street fight… and simply get back in their cars and drive off. Obviously they’re hoping he’ll jut turn himself in later.
**The big finale occurs at a Town Council meeting, where the authorities decide the Evil Capitalist have acceptable legal grounds to evict the tenants. John starts to make a counter-argument, via a rap number.
**Wait, what?
**No, seriously, what?
**Are they actually recycling the end of BREAKIN’ for this flick? I know it worked there, but the finale of that flick was at a dance audition. Not a legal hearing.
**Oh, fuck me. The stuffy councillors are starting to clap along to John’s extremely vague rap-buttal. They can’t seriously think people are going to buy this.
**The council overturns the decision, which sets one hell of a legal precedent. Fuck getting a lawyer, get a rhyming dictionary and a drum machine and you’ll rule the world.
**One final rap number takes us out, but it’s the most ridiculous of the flick. Because EVERYONE gets to rap in this one. Jewish Lady Rap! Destitute Single Mom and Her One Daughter With a Speaking Part Rap! DWAYNE RAP!
**Y’know, if Dr. Dre had seen this film, he would have rejected Eminem before the fucker even opened his mouth, thanks to Dwayne’s attempt at busting out some dope rhymes.

Great stuff.

Car Crashes?: Uncle Tom Guy’s whip gets a beating, yes.
Denigration of Women?: Verbally, at least. And with Dwayne’s mangled phrasing, it’s as bad as being slapped.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Dwayne fills half of this Theme with a little popping-out-of-my-skull eye acting.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: Hood didn’t have to hunt Dwayne down. All he had to do was look for the cloud of hairspray vapour to find him.
Big Twist Ending?: If by twist you mean “Twisting Reality”, then yes.
NEW THEME!-Jungle Fever?: Hell, yeah.

CARDIO?: Sure, you need your energy in case an unexpected Ballet-Off breaks out.
DOUBLE-TAP?: Dwaynes punches are like little taps, I supppose.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: No, but you might want to check where the stereo. Went.

Skeeters’ Summary: Cheap, cheesy and relentlessly silly. Loved it.

We took a half-hour dinner break after RAPPIN’ came to it’s hilariously awkward conclusion. Before the crowd dispersed to hunt down sustenance, Ant informed us of the first contest of the night… a Rap-off! I contemplated jotting down a few rhymes about the flick, but couldn’t come up with a satisfactory word to rhyme with “Shithouse”.

While most of the crowd dispersed to various places for grub, I hung in the theatre with Campbell and worked out our current Running Themes list. Degradation of Women was rapidly becoming the Theme of the Night, and we still had the 3am Sleazeathon Slot to come.

When the Rap-Off was announced, two of our section made a beeline for the stage. But with only five spots open, Andrew Todd managed to make it in, while Doug was sixth in line. As he headed back to his seat, a sixth entrant emerged from the balcony and was permitted to join in. D’oh. I’m not sure of Dougs skill as an MC, but he would have had to go a long way to beat our eventual winner.

Andrew Todd.

Yes, MC A-to-the-T-to-the-O-Double-D destroyed all but one of his opponents, then took out the last guy (Who I affectionately dubbed “Rappin’ Jesus” due to his awesome beard) in an improvised Rap-Off. As Andrew is part of an Improv group in Christchurch, I was hardly surprised he was able to fire out a rap on THE LOVE BUTCHER on thirty seconds notice.

Clutching a selection of DVDs’ and Blu-Rays, Andrew returned to the cheap seats, and the show continued.

Part 4: It’s Apparently Not AS Good, Yet Still Damn Good!
Saturday 20:20-LET ME IN

Having not watched any trailers for some months, in order to see any premieres absolutely unprepared, I was amazed to see the words “Hammer Films” appear on screen. What the hell? Is it 1975 again?

And then the title appeared. This was going to be interesting, as I’m yet to get around to seeing the much-hyped Scandinavian original, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. It’s been on my “Should Watch” list for some time, but somehow I never found the time to check it out. On hearing this, I’ve already been told by Al that I WILL be watching it as soon as is humanely possible. I should probably double-feature it with THE ROOM, just to get both out the way.

Predictably, this film split the room cleanly in two. The people who HAD seen the original thought the remake was inferior and totally superfluous. The attendees who HADN’T watched it, thought it was an excellent film.

I loved it.

It’s got incredibly strong leading actors, and seeing as they’re both around 12 or 13 years old, that’s saying something. Trust me, in the last few years I’ve seen many, MANY child actors that made me want to pass a law banning under-20’s from appearing on film. (Michael Phillip Stephenson from TROLL 2 is excepted, of course.) The production design is simply beautiful, the pace is perfect and the gore is neither over-the-top nor surplus to requirements. (I’m looking at you, EMILY ROSE.) There’s a little jarring CGI to annoy me, but the practical effects, including a stunning car crash scene that’s not only terrifying to witness, but an incredible technical achievement. (A one-shot wonder shot from INSIDE the car that one-ups the directors previous helicopter crash in CLOVERFIELD.)

The story itself, if you’re even more out of the loop than I was, is more of a character study than a horror flick. It’s a touching story of first love, with the major complication being that one of the couple isn’t exactly… human.

Okay, she’s a vampire. Let’s face it, it becomes pretty clear pretty fast. (Although the “V” word isn’t uttered for quite some time on-screen.) It’s a fairly simple concept, but as Hollywood has proved over and over, a clever idea can easily get destroyed by a stupid script.

The movie also appealed to me due to my past. Having spent a good deal of my school years being bullied, I could identify very easily with male lead Owen. The moment he strikes back at his tormentor was both cathartic and disturbing in equal measures. Considering that even the most graphic violence I’ve seen lately (And I’ve watched several Italian Zombie and cannibal flicks this year) doesn’t get that much of a reaction out of me, this film is doing a lot of things right.

To sum it up, If you haven’t seen the original, this film is required viewing. If you have seen the original… see it anyway. Distance yourself from LET THE RIGHT ON IN if you can and judge it on it’s own merits. You might be surprised.

Car Crashes?: Oh, fuck yes..
Denigration of Women?: If by “denigrate” you mean a case of horrendous throat injuries.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?:
More like Old Guy with Sunken Eyes.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: In many forms, yes.
Big Twist Ending?: Not so much a twist as a “Told you so!”
Jungle Fever: Dude, they’re twelve. Don’t be weird.

CARDIO?: How long can YOU hold your breath?
DOUBLE-TAP?: From the fifth floor.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: Check everywhere. If that kid moved into my neighbourhood, I’d spray holy water onto my sandwiches before I ate them.

Skeeters’ Summary: Four out the five new films this year got the thumbs up from me. This was one of them. In fact, this was probably the top of the heap.

With my legs starting to cramp up badly (Sarah’s beanbag had been inching backwards during the show, and I therefore watched LET ME IN sitting on a 45-degree angle in my seat) I moved down the row and joined Campbell and Anthony. (Anatol had snagged a vacant beanbag for this flick.) I settled in, hoping for a sleaze-and-cheese flick to balance out the last films glossy production values. But first, a trailer for KILLER FORCE appeared.

And then it happened.

The trailers audio was garbled, distorted into incomprehensibility. “I think this trailers soundtrack must have derailed” I remarked, not realising until I started this review that that particular turn of phrase is A-Grade gibberish. The trailer stopped. Started again. Yul Bryner fired a rifle, causing a helicopter to explode. Even the explosion was distorted to hell. The sound cut out. Several well-know actors pantomimed their parts for us. A second trailer followed. The sound came back on, resulting in a burst of sound and fury that had 90% of the audience clutching their ears. Seriously, if someone taped that, we could play it at 3AM and wake the entire theatre at once. The sound cut out again.

And then the curtains majestically swept close.


And so it had happened. Ant’s record-breaking schedule had suffered its first hitch. (Even though we had already been behind schedule by the time the third film rolled around.) He was out soon with a status update… and it was a doozy. For the first time in Marathon history, we’d managed to blow out a speaker. And this wasn’t a case of twiddling the wires and giving it a few swift kicks. We were talking about replacing the thing entirely. Ant’s estimate was at least 25 minutes of downtime.

The fourteen-film record of 2008 and 2009 was safe for another year. Unless Ant deliberately clipped a reel or two off some film along the way. (Which was what apparently happened with BLACK AGENT LUCKY KING some years ago.)

We migrated out into the street while the Hollywood team swung into action. The mood was pretty upbeat, with everyone confident that the show would be running again soon. There was also a number of suggestions of what we could do to keep the show running if we had lost the sound completely. Silent movies, live improving and script readings were all mooted. I of course figured we could just make shadow puppets for a while. It’d still be less amateurish than my trailers.

The break stretched past the half-hour mark, with Ant apparently going as far as to drag a 90-year-old audio professor out of bed to help with the fix. We headed back to our seats, discussed the flicks we’d seen, ate some pretty damn good home baking and drummed our heels.

There was a brief blast of sound.

We waited.

Another bit of detached audio.

Ant appeared on stage to do a few giveaways. He asked his first trivia question , an audience stumper about what trash classic was written by Wyatt Ordung, director of WALK THE DARK STREET. (Unbelievably, it was ROBOT MONSTER!) Suddenly, the projectionists asked Ant to switch of his mic.

And the curtains pulled back. We held our collective breath as the trailer we had last watched re-appeared onscreen…


By my watch we had lost 45 minutes, but it didn’t matter worth a damn. Because as the trailer ended a second or two later, three words appeared before me. Three words that made up the title of a flick that would have made the entire show worthwhile, even it’d been the ONLY flick we saw that night.

The 2010 Vendetta Movie Marathon, Part 2

Part 5: I got ya audio problems RIGHT HERE, ya rat-soup eatin’ mutha!
Saturday, 23:10-THE HUMAN TORNADO

THE HUMAN TORNADO. The flick that could only have come from the deranged imagination of the late Rudy Ray Moore. A movie I had been planning to see once I’d got around to watching my copy of DOLEMITE, a flick I’ve been hanging onto for a Bad Movie Afternoon. A flick I’d delayed for some time after nearly breaking the B-Movie Crews collective brains with Rudy Ray’s insane DISCO GODFATHER earlier this year. (And a movie that’s currently playing in the background as I type this.)

For those unfamiliar with the style of Rudy Ray Moore, a little background. I referred to him on the night as “The poor man’s Richard Pryor”, although THE HUMAN TORNADO marks him more as the black Don Rickles. A relentlessly filthy insult comic, he somehow parlayed his act into a series of films, written by and starring himself. The two I’ve now seen both wildly inconsistent in style, with wacky comedy, terrible kung-fu, graphic violence, T and A (The A quite often being his own), heavy-handed pathos and mawkish drama all rolled into one jaw-dropping package. All served with a heapin’ helping of terrible acting, hot funk music and fashions that must have been considered over-the-top even in the cocaine-fuelled 70’s. As an example, as I write, DOLEMITE is at the14 minute mark. There’s been a heavy drama scene, six variants on a crude term for matriarchal incest, 3 bad kung-fu kicks, 1 pair of bared breasts and a guy getting graphically shot before a thankfully implied John-Wayne Bobbit-ing.

That being said, I’m guessing THE HUMAN TORNADO is almost certainly one of his most deranged flicks. Because it’s one of the most deranged flicks to ever grace the Hollywood’s’ screen during a Marathon. Hell, it kicks off with lengthy montage of Rudy Rays’ stand-up act, despite the fact that the character he’s playing, Dolemite, was a pimp with a penchant for ghetto poetry in the original. It’s a breath-taking piece of plot-padding that really sets the tone for the flick. (And gave me flashbacks to Stuart Whitman’s opening ten-minute sermon in GUYANA, CRIME OF THE CENTURY, provided Rev. Johnson was accompanied by a booty-shaking dancer in between verses.)

(DOLEMITE UPDATE: 21 minutes in, and the Boom Microphone makes a cameo appearance. And Dolemite knocks out a man by viciously kicking the air next to his face. He’s BAD!)

Before the montage of fat/sex/you so ugly jokes (“Your lips make you look like you’re wearing a turtle-neck sweater!”) started, we got the Funkalicious credits, however. (Austin and I tried to get the crowd clapping along, which lasted about 30 seconds at best. Man, this crowd is full of rhythm-less Jive Turkeys. We then head to Dolemites pad. And from that moment the movie departs the realm of realism for ever more. Instead, we plummet heedlessly into the Rudyverse. A place where men are men, women are women, and white men are inbred redneck racists, no matter whether they’re from California or Beverly Hills. Seriously, we’re talking about a characters painted with a rather broad brush. Broad enough to paint the Parthenon in a single stoke, in fact.

The Comedy redneck cops are led by Sheriff Kenny Rogers von Evilstein. This prince amongst honkies is first seen opening fire on one of his deputies when startled from a nap. Yep, that’s who’d I’d vote for as Sheriff if I lived in that town. Oddly, they’re apparently situated in Alabama, making me wonder why the hell Dolemite moved there, and how he managed to find such a nice, Californian-styled mansion to live in. (Also, why does a lot of Alabama look so much like an industrial estate in the more low-budget part of California?)

Sheriff Kennys reaction to reports of Afro-American men relaxing on the balcony of an expensive house is to gather the troops, bust in on Dolemites society party and attempt to sexually molest the nearest Soul Sister he can find. (Even in the Seventies, I’m SURE you needed a court order to grope a suspect in full view of the general public.) Sheriff Kenny gets a knee to the prairie oysters for his trouble, much to the pleasure of the viewing public. His bad night gets worse as he gets to see his wife in Dolemite’s boudoir, riding the Black Mamba of Love. OUR night gets worse as we get a huge, loving shot of Dolemite’s rear end in glorious wide-screen. Broad comedy, thy name is Dolemite!

Until the Sheriffs wife takes a shotgun blast to the chest courtesy of her cuckolded hubby’s dipshit deputy. That sound you heard was the audience getting whiplash from THAT tonal shift. Dolemite takes to his heels, leaping over a balcony and rolling down a hill to escape.

Oh, and did I mention he doesn’t take the time to get his pants on first?

The audience reaction to a naked Rudy Ray Moore doing his own stunts reached COMMANDO-like proportions as the film paused, rewound and gave us an Instant Replay. (Complete with “INSTANT REPLAY” caption.) Amazingly, I’ve since discovered that the audience laughter completely drowned out a dubbed-over line by Rudy Ray, letting us know the replay was there to prove he’d made the jump himself. Dude, I trust you. Leave the Fourth Wall alone!

Dolemite and his boys (Including Ernie “Winston Zeddimore” Hudson!) decide to get the hell out of Dodge and take off for sunny California. Because wherever the hell they were, was so obviously NOT California. As the script has so far only be insulting to white people, black people, fat people and women, we throw in a Flaming Homosexual. Okay, not so much “Flaming” as “Heart of the Sun”, as the “actor” aims for “High-pitched Gay Man” and actually hits “Human Dog Whistle”. I think his voice shattered the remaining ice in my tortured water bottle. En route to Caifornia, Dolemite calls his main Sunshine State woman, Queen Bee at her bar and has a conversation with her.

Well, I think that’s what the script read, anyway. What ACTUALLY happens is that Rudy Ray stands in a phone booth smiling at the camera while holding the receiver. Meanwhile, Queen Bees’ dialogue is dubbed over the top. Apparently they started filming and then went “Oh, shit, did anyone write a script, yet? Fuck it, improvise!” The driving sequence is full of brilliant moments like that. Twice there’s a wobbly, dialogue-free hand-held shot of Rudy walking at the camera. (The second one cutting multiple time to the same scene of Dolemite eating an apple for no reason.) Both times I wondered who the hell edited Rudy Rays home movies into the flick.

Queen Bee’s bartender rocks one of the better hairdos in the flick by the way. It’s an oddly square look I’ve dubbed the “Franken-‘Fro”.

By the time Rudy and the crew finish their epic trek from California to California, Queen Bee has been menaced and brutally beaten by her (white) rival Joe Cavaletti’s Hired Goons. Keeping track of the movies tone is like watching a tennis match, folks. Queen Bee’s rival follows up the assault and battery by kidnapping a couple of Bee’s waitresses. Instead of doing something wacky like calling the police, Queen Bee and her remaining girl instead go to work for the bad guys bar. This after Cavaletti phones her to claim responsibility for the eighty-five felonies his boys committed. Apparently California is the only state whose law enforcement standards makes Pittsburgh’s cops look like the model of efficiency.

Speaking of law enforcement, Sheriff Kenny Rogers does share a few scenes with a straight-arrow California detective. Who brought the house down by responding to Kennys mild bigotry (Mild in the sense that I believe he only burns crosses to celebrate major holidays) by telling him to go forth and multiply, in no uncertain terms. Right on, my man!

After Dolemite and his boys discover Queen Bee’s place deserted, they check out every nightclub in Los Angeles to find her. Or so it seems, given how many second-rate nightclub acts we get to watch. Finally, Dolemite catches up with another of his stable of Californian Girls, Hurricane Annie, who puts two and two together to make “Cavaletti”. Seeing as how Cavaletti is less than subtle in his evilness, it’s hardly a mystery that would stump Sherlock Homes.

Of course, Cavaletti himself is no Moriarty, as his entire gang is composed of the clinically insane. From his bizarre pantomime witch torture-ess, (You only THINK I’m kidding) to the John Ritter clone with the painted-on beard, Cavalettis’ mob makes a mockery of the phrase “organized crime”. They tie up Queen Bee’s girls (albeit so loosely that the knots wouldn’t contain anyone with smaller wrists than the late Andre the Giant.) and subject them to horrible, horrible torture! Well, it’s less terrible than having to look at Rudy’s naked man-ass, as we once more get to do a few scenes later. Dude, put it away, already!

Post-sweaty Rudy Ray Buttcrack, Dolemite goes undercover to discover the missing girls location. This leads directly into the most brain-breaking sequence, not only of the film, but of the entire Marathon. Dolemite meets Cavalettis wife and somehow hypnotises her by the simple expedient of showing her a piece of terrible nude art. Within seconds Mrs. Cavaletti is writhing, moaning and shedding clothes like she suddenly became the worlds first deciduous human. Which segues into a truly mind-bending dream/freakout/what the fuck is going on sequence as Mrs. Cavaletti fantasises about naked black men sliding onto her crotch. From an actual slide.

Once again, you only WISH I was kidding.

That surreal sequence also ends with an sex scene that literally “brings down the house”. The crowds’ reaction to Mrs Cavaletti experiencing a Six-on-the-Richter-Scale shagging was right up there with the “Vibrations” scene in YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE. Only without the icky incest overtones.

The final twenty minutes of the flick had it all. Speeded up kung-fu, lengthy comedy fist-fights, excruciatingly melodramatic scenes of pathos, an actual world kung-fu champion having to lose a nun-chuk fight to Rudy Ray Moore, the works!

How insane is this flick? Let’s put it this way. To write even this disjointed, inaccurate recap, I had to find and RE-WATCH the film. And considering the damn thing isn’t available in New Zealand (The DVD release being cancelled due to excessive classification costs) that took some commitment. And I feel like I’ve still only scratched the surface.

Car Crashes?:
70’s cars could explode if you looked at them funny
Denigration of Women?: Only in every second scene.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Buggy eyes, painted-on beard!
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: AMBUSH THE HONKEYS!
Big Twist Ending?: It’s impossible to “twist” a film that hates conventional narrative as much as this one does.
Jungle Fever?: Sho’NUFF!

CARDIO?: For a “kung-fu” expert, Rudy could have used to lose a few pounds.
DOUBLE-TAP?: You usually don’t need to double-tap with a shotgun.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: Yes. For Rudy’s pants.

Skeeters’ Summary:
Un-be-lieveable. And ridiculously fun. Thumbs WAY up!

Part 6: Possession is 9/10’s of the Film.

With my back and legs registering their complaints about my seating arrangements, and with our next premiere scheduled , I abandoned the stalls. I’d earlier moved my borrowed beanbag right to the front left corner of the theatre, and a quick check proved that this would give me a good view of the screen. This had the additional benefit of also allowing me unlimited legroom. I sunk gratefully into the beanbag, which, being half-full, somehow formed a perfect donut shape around the top half of my body.

Comfy. So comfortable in fact that I was pretty sure I’d be asleep halfway through this flick. But there was one factor working in my favour. You see, the Hollywood is an old-school theatre. And directly to the left of me is one of the original features.

The Emergency Exit.

The exit hardly justifies the capital letters above, let alone it’s own paragraph. It’s simply a set of wooden doors that open out to the rear of the adjoining shops. But like any old building, despite being firmly closed, it allows somewhat of a draught in. An Arctic draught. As we were now well behind schedule, the break between THE HUMAN TONADO and this film was minimal, meaning I hadn’t grabbed my sweatshirt when I changed seats. The net result was that I was Goosebump Central in minutes.

Which was surprisingly apt, given the film we were watching. THE LAST EXORCISM is the latest in the current crop of “First-Person Perspective ”
Horrors making the rounds. (AKA the “Found Footage” genre, ala last years PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.) Interestingly, PARANORMAL ACTVITY 2 had opened in general release a few weeks before the Marathon, making it ineligible for screening. As someone who was unimpressed with the original in 2009, this was no bad thing, despite some fairly creepy trailers.

THE LAST EXORCISM by contrast was a much better watch, and at times projects a genuinely creepy vibe. It follows an evangelistic exorcist, who by his own confession is a jaded fraudster. Having lost his faith but retaining his showmanship, he cheerfully invites us along on one last road trip before his gives up the old Demon-Eviction racket. The opening is full of some sharp satirical humour and (literal) winks to the camera. As he rolls out to Rednickville, documentary crew in tow, you can kind of film in some of the script in your mind. Possible case of possession, priest who’s lost his faith, creepy old house in the middle of nowhere, creepy teenage girl… all fairly standard, right?

Well, yes and no. Yes, one sequence was so like THE EXCORCISM OF EMILY ROSE I thought the projection booth had got the reels switched. But there’s a few twists on the formula, mainly as the result of the shaky-cam style, which feels very organic. At least until the small pieces of creepy music and bassy sound effects start to come in. This became somewhat distracting, as I started wondering who edited the “Found” footage. (Not to mention the inexplicable reaction shots that seemed to indicate there was a second cameraman on the Grassy Knoll. Uh, barn.)

Much like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY there’s a slow burn as the creepiness ramps up, but unlike P.A, the script was strong enough to keep my interest in the quiet moments. In fact, despite it’s tendency to sometimes go for the big jump scene, THE LAST EXORCISM is strongest in the small details. I can still see very clearly one characters perfectly-timed evil smirk, glimpsed as a door swings shut in front of them. One of the bits that really got me was a middle of the night shot as SOMEONE picks up the camera, and it’s patently obvious it’s NOT our never-glimpsed camera op. The pay-off to that scene got a good reaction, (To anyone who wasn’t an animal lover, at least) but that first few seconds of “Oh, we could be in for something fucking scary” was for me the REALLY chilling bit.

The ending of the film was a room splitter, with probably more people in the “They fucked it up!” camp. I wasn’t disappointed by the way they went, but was certainly a last-second swerve that NO-ONE saw coming.

In the end, I was amazed that after 3 premieres, there was not one I’d found dull or forgettable. (And this at a show that had previously hit us with EMILY ROSE, a RESIDENT EVIL flick and a sequel to ANACONDA, for fucks sake!) Could this unusual trend continue?

Car Crashes?: Some people might think that climax was a car wreck.
Denigration of Women?: How, physically, mentally, spiritually? Take your pick…
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Inverted, as it’s a tough GIRL with wild eyes.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: Run, cameraguy, run!
Big Twist Ending?: One of the biggest. Did it make sense? That’s up for debate.
Jungle Fever?: More like “Lake of Fire and Brimstone” Fever.

CARDIO?: SEE: Hunter becoming hunted.
DOUBLE-TAP?: Here, kitty, kitty, kitty…
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: Nah, you’ll just find the sound op. Check everywhere else, though.

Skeeters’ Summary:
I could think of plenty of worse ways to spend 90 minutes. Solid flick.

We were into the wee small hours. Knowing that this was usually the time that people started to drift off, I returned to the stalls for a little B-Movie Crew support. (Steve Chow is notorious for flaking out around 3AM in particular.) Leaving my beanbag, I discovered a pen beneath my feet, which I was sure hadn’t been there at the start of THE LAST EXORCISM. Dubbing it “The Evil Pen”, I gave it a wide berth. On my return a few films later, it had been joined by The Evil Sunglasses. Turned out the girl sitting nearby simply had a habit of having her stuff migrate across the floor.

Now sitting just a seat away from Campbell, I was happy to see a black-and-white movie flicker to life. Considering the lateness of the hour, this could mean only one thing.

Part 7: Dirty Raincoats on, Gentlemen!

“We got us a titty flick!”

Man, the guy they yelled that is like school in the summer. No class.

Yeah, it was me. Despite Ant saying he was going to mess with the “traditional” line-up, this 60’s stag film would have started right at the same time as last years MAIDENS OF FETISH STREET if we weren’t 40 minutes behind schedule. But in truth, this is the perfect “Zone-Out “ spot for films of this nature. Unlike sleaze films of the seventies, most 60’s stag flicks I’ve seen have been heavy on the sizzle with a pretty meagre serving of steak. You have to wade through a huge chunk of dialogue, endless establishing shots and a really LOVE watching people dance the Twist before you get your brief glimpse of un-augmented boob, back or butt. (An invariably, that was about it.)

For people needing a little shut-eye, these flicks gently lull them to dreamland within the first reel. For those trying for the “No Sleep till Sunday Night!” mark of honour, these are usually the biggest test. But something about the way this started convinced me I needed to focus on it.

Firstly, there was the acting credits. An amazing list of pseudonyms appeared before us, promising the acting talents of such luminaries as “Steve Stunning” and “Alpha Centuri”. (Seriously, what the hell? Was one of those girls studying astronomy when she signed up for this tawdry little skinflick?) Adding to the amusement levels was one other acting credit.

Bob Parker? What the hall are you doing in this flick? If this gets out, your next mayoral campaign is… well, going to be even more of a landslide than this years ended up as.

Secondly was the music. It was library music, as is usual for this type of flick. But the music selection wasn’t exactly well considered. In fact, it was more like the director said “Look, just find the least appropriate music for the scene and slap it on there. Trust me, it’s an artistic decision!” I knew we were in for something special once ultra-dramatic suspense music played over the scene of a woman getting out of a car and walking into a building. I scribbled a few descriptions of some of the most glaring examples of Stock Music weirdness. Here’ a few examples;

The Lite-Jazz Sleaze Theme
Evil Doctor Music
The Unexpectedly Persian Make-out Music
The Killer Bee Theme for Walking up a Flight of Steps
The Austin Powers Theme! (Yes, it was and early version of Sould\ Bossa Nova, as performed by Quincy Jones for the Austin Powers flicks.)
The Morning Sickness Military Tattoo.

Then there was the directors favourite transitional shot.. the nausea-inducing PLUMMETING ZOOM! No less than five times, scenes would end with the camera suddenly falling to the floor, a couch, an actresses stomach. I wasn’t sure if it was a conscious decision, or if the cameraman was suffering from narcolepsy. An additional delight was the fact that this was the CREEPING TERROR of the 2010 show… in the sense of “Synch Sound? Fuck your synch sound!”. Yes, for 70 minutes, we’re treated to a never-ending narration by our leading lady. And that’s all. No dialogue to.. well, speak of. Brilliantly, she fumbles her lines more than once, proving once more that dreams are free and re-takes are sometimes just too damn expensive. (Her mangling of the word “nymphomaniac” suggested she’d never even uttered it before the record.)

But the best part of this flick had less to do with the shoddiness of the production, and much more to do with our second major technical glitch of the night. Without which, the film would probably have been quite dull. You see, the script is tracing-paper thin, being the story of a naive college girl who moves in with a bunch of swinging chicks on campus. They smoke, they drink, they party, (In a tiny, TINY room with a hunting rifle hung on a wall for no readily obvious reason.) they strip off and fondle anything with a pulse. Including some shocking, SCANDALOUS faux-lesbian frottage. (Which was probably the highlight of the flick.)

She proceeds to get busy with both a local hep cat and her professor. (Who, in an exceedingly icky plot point is an old friend of the family. And, it’s mentioned, has been “Just like an uncle” to our Heroine. Ick. ) She gets knocked up, contemplates a backstreet abortion, confronts both the potential fathers and in a final unlikely twist, sticks her head in a gas oven. (Narrating the whole time, making me think this was a VERY early version of AMERICAN BEAUTY.) She gets saved by one of her room-mates boy-toys, they fall in love and everyone lives skankily ever after.

Which would all be standard stuff for a skinflick. Unless of course you show the reels in the WRONG ORDER!

And not just one reel in the wrong place, either. We started with reel one, as our Heroine moves in and a VERY extended party breaks out. Much twisting and frug-ing later, the girls start showing off their granny panties. And then, in the blink of an eye, we leapt to reel four, and were in the apartment of a terrifyingly decrepit abortionist. Apparently, our Heroine was suddenly about to pop out a Virgin Birth. (Proving to be an appropriate follow-up to several plot elements in THE LAST EXORCISM.) I figured out pretty quickly what had happened, especially as the movie quickly built up to its melodramatic conclusion. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was whether Ant had decided to just show us an edited to oblivion version of the film to re-coup some lost time, or if thing were going to get confusing.

It was the latter. As the music swelled for the final fade-out, we jumped back to reel 3. Now our Heroine had moved in with Swingin’ Hepcat and had just found out she was pregnant, but couldn’t work out who the father was. The drama (purportedly) built as she confronted Swingin’ Hepcat and Professor Faux-Incest about her Spontaneous Bun-in-Oven manifestation. (Including a flashback to her flirting with Professor Morals-and-Ethics-of-a-Swamp-Rat while he gave a lecture. In a “classroom” that was depicted by him standing in front of a plain white wall. Apparently this campus was going through one hell of a funding crisis at the time.)

Eventually, Little Miss Up-the-Duff plucked up courage to go visit the aforementioned Back Alley Abortionist Lady. (Accompanied by misplaced music cues the whole way.) Annnnnd, back we went to the same swinging party from Reel one, just in time to catch a little light lesbianism in action. Our heroine meanwhile was coming on to Mr Swingin’ Hepcat, who was responding with abject boredom. Soft 60’s coupling soon ensued, Professor Hornypants entered the storyline and BANG, the movie was abruptly over as Reels 2 and 3 met in Swingin’ Hepcats apartment.

Now as I had been wide awake for this whole flick, and had even been taking a few notes by torchlight, the mixed-up reels weren’t as brain-breaking as they could be. My half-asleep (or in some cases, VERY asleep) compatriots were a little further out of the loop. With the exception of Campbell, who for the second year in a row went the full 24 hours without any sneaky napping (or so he claims, at least), some of the Crew was still trying to piece together the flick come breakfast time.

Car Crashes?: This movie didn’t have the budget for a minor fender-bender.
Denigration of Women?: Two guys being dickwads to the same chick vs. one nice guy. It’s a split decision, but yes.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Who could tell behind those swingin’ shades?
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: SOMEONE must have been a hunter, due to the .22 on the wall. I’m still puzzled about that.
Big Twist Ending?: The big twists was that the ending was only the middle, and the movie ended before the ending began to start.
Jungle Fever?: You seem to think black people socialised with white folks in the mid 60-s.

CARDIO?: There really was a lot of bad dancing to keep people in shape.
DOUBLE-TAP?: It’s impossible to double-tap yourself with a Rangemaster Oven.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: Check the library for better music next time.

Skeeters’ Summary: Not quite as good a glitch as GIRLY, but close. The flick itself was pretty forgettable.

And so we came the 3AM slot. (Or as close to 3AM as our fractured schedule allowed.) In the last few years this spot has gone from “New and mindless” (ANACONDAS and RESIDENT EVIL) to “talky and challenging”. (KING DINOSAUR and MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN) What would Ant throw at us this time?

Part 8: Cornel Wilde Make Big Boom!
Sunday, 03:45-BEACH RED

Oh. My. God. It’s a war flick. A 1960’s war flick. With Cornel Wilde and Rip Torn, shot in beautiful, lush colour that had of course faded to purple somewhat. We’re hearing internal dialogues. We’re getting scenes in un-subtitled Japanese.

This is going to hurt.

In truth, it was our own fault. Ant had put up genre ideas on Facebook to see what we wantd. And we responded to each with “YES! Great! Do eeeet!”. I myself voted for a war film.

Of course, I was thinking more along the lines of BRADDOCK: MISSING IN ACTION.

This was a serious, earnest war film. The first 45 minutes cover the storming of a Pacific island by U.S Marines, and the battle scenes rival SAVING PRIVATE RYAN in their intensity. (If featuring a little more stock footage that Mr. Spielberg’s film.) It’s full-on Hell in the Pacific stuff, with characters we’re introduced to like they’re the films leads getting abruptly removed from the cast list by mortars and machine gun fire. The second half of the flick is more intimate, following two Marines on patrol and featuring many, MANY flashbacks to civilian life from soldiers on both the American and Japanese sides. It ends with the stark message that there are sometimes no winners in war, just survivors. It’s brutal, harrowing and relentless stuff.

That being said, have you ever tried to watch a war film at four in the fucking morning?

By the time the Marines had a foothold on the island, I had zero clue as to who was who. The fog of war was located in my brain, and every character was just a faceless grunt in uniform. I stuck with it as most of the Crew gave in to sleep. Cherie and Steve Chow were in their traditional 4am comas, along with most of the people in front of me. One of the Crew (either Andrew of Steve Austin, I think) remarked later that the moment the opening credits rolled, he felt safe to sack out.

How I didn’t flake out, I’ll never know. Three or four mammoth Atomic Neck Snaps (Backwards, for some reason this year) kept me from drifting off. Campbell and I were probably the only people in our row awake, but we didn’t exchange word one during the flick. I doubt I could have formed a coherent thought by 5AM.

As Ant said later, war is hell and so is scheduling a 100-minute-plus war film at 4AM.

Car Crashes?: Tanks go boom.
Denigration of Women?: Several women appear in flashback. Several have topless scenes. But no as I recall.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Most of the cast.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: Very much so at the end.
Big Twist Ending?: Less of a twist, more an “I KNEW that was going to happen!” swerve.
Jungle Fever?: They’re in a mosquito-filled jungle. SOMEONE’S getting a fever, all right.

CARDIO?: Drop and give me fifty, Private!
DOUBLE-TAP?: It’s a war film. Do the math.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: Check behind every rock and palm tree.

Skeeters’ Summary: A film I’d like to see properly sometime. As in, at a time when it won’t do my head in.

It was 5:30. After fourteen and a half hours of flicks and the last hour and forty-five minutes of explosions and flashbacks, I may not have hit the wall, but I damn sure was within spitting distance of it. I grabbed some supplies, headed to my beanbag and fortified myself for the final flick before breakfast. (Read “Fortified” as “Found an orphaned, unopened can of V on the floor of the stalls and chugged the piss-warm beverage in about three swallows.”)

C’mon, Ant. Give me something to wake me the hell up!

The 2010 Vendetta Movie Marathon, Part 3

Part 9: Conan the Boobarian!
Sunday, 05:38-DEATHSTALKER

All right! Mid 80’s Sword and sorcery! With a huge barbarian with incredibly well-maintained feathered hairdo! Badly made-up Goblin extras! Gratuitous nudity within four minutes of the get-go! Huzzah!

I blinked.

Man, this is a long fight scene.

I blinked again.

Wait, the naked chick has a different haircut all of a sudden…

I blinked once more.

The fight is still going on… hang on, we’re indoors now! Is this the same fight scene? Who’s that guy who looks like Mark Hamil? Why is there a guy in a recycled Gammorean Guard costume?

I checked my watch. Forty-five minutes of the film had passed.

The wall had been officially hit. Somehow, huge chunks of this movie were nothing more than a colourful slideshow, the dialogue meaningless, the plot reduced to nothing more than a montage of swordfights and bared breasts. I tried to re-focus, but it was pointless. By the time the credits rolled and the lights came up I only gained two things from the flick.

1) The main Bad Guy was the spitting image of Campbell Cooley. (My remark on returning to the stalls of “I loved you in that movie” got the sort of response that indicated he’d been getting ribbed about it for the last 90 minutes.)


2) I was probably going to own this movie, if only to find out what happened.

It’s now two weeks after the show, and yes, I have a copy of DEATHSTALKER. I could watch it to recap I properly, but as I’m already doing that with THE HUMAN TORNADO, I thinking “Nah, fuck it.”. Besides, this review has taken a fortnight so far, and I’ve only just hit breakfast. Hunt it down, if you want to… the DVD is cheap as shit and there’s a bunch of sequels.

Running Themes? Yeah, I’ll pass.

Interlude 2: Sunday, 07:00-BREAKFAST!

I headed back to the stalls when the lights came up to collect both my senses and whatever junk I’d dropped during the night. Most of the Crew were up and about, although Al was blissfully asleep on his beanbag. In my sleep-deprived state, I went to sit on a brown beanbag nearby. The “Beanbag” turned out to be Johnny Hall’s head, encased in a sleeping bag. Luckily for his, I’m not only a lightweight, but due to Barbarian-induced disorientation, I missed.

Before breakfast, I splashed out on one of the last remaining Tenth Anniversary T-shirts. Ant had sold them last year when I was flat broke, but luckily there was one left in my size. The front of the shirt lists every single flick screened in both Auckland and Wellington. It’s a real trip down memory lane, doubly so when I spotted SPOOKED, which I consider the “Lost Marathon Flick”. Seriously, I’ve never seen a copy in DVD store, not even in the bargain bin.

We adjourned across the road the Café Whare Kai once more. While I was going to take advantage of the express Bacon & Egg Bap they were offering , the smell of the Sausage Sizzle dragged me out of the line before I hit the counter. I contemplated heading back for a second this year, although in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t. That single banger-in-bread was enough to keep me going for the rest of the show.

I also played waiter, ferrying Al’s breakfast back to the theatre. (Fortunately he was one of those weird, hippy types who ordered muesli.) When I returned he was still using the break as an extended nap, so I was forced to stash his cereal under a seat. I assume he didn’t end up sleeping face down in a bowl of Light and Tasty.

With all the technical issues in the booth, the usual reel of weirdness was MIA during the break. We chilled out, got our heads back together, and in my case, collected cans of V that had been cruelly abandoned by their owners. Sue me, I knew I’d need them once the recapping began.

With several films not able to be played with the jury-rigged sound during the night, Ant was now booking on-the-fly. He announced we’d get our last two premieres back-to-back, followed by something from the archives. Worked for me!

Part 10: Why Should You See This Film? No Reason.
Sunday, 08:00-RUBBER

I’ve heard the term “Sleeper” bandied around a lot. A Sleeper film! Sleeper hit of the summer! I know what it means, but after seeing RUBBER, I now have a new definition of the term.

Because RUBBER was not just the sleeper hit of the 2010 Marathon, but arguably the sleeper hit of ALL the Marathons I’ve attended. It was a film I’d heard nothing about, and I wasn’t alone. The title got cheered by exactly two people in the theatre, those two being Steve and Andrew. The premise is inventive and original as hell, while being beautifully simple as well. It’s a plot that you think couldn’t possibly sustain a feature-length flick, and while the running time is short, it keeps throwing curves at you to never stretch the concept.

It’s beautifully shot, well-acted and has been beaten with the Quirky Stick to within an inch of its life. I referred to it as an “oddly compelling little film”, one that keeps you riveted to the screen in it’s own quiet, measured way. In short, it’s a film that probably won’t get the attention or audience it deserves. When some people hear the ploy synopsis, they’ll dismiss it as “Arthouse”… typical Film Festival fodder that would bore the average multiplex punter.

Which would be a goddamn shame. And it’s the reason I’m not recapping the flick in detail, to keep a sense of mystery. I’ll just give it the briefest summary ever.

A tyre digs its way out of the desert sand… and all hell quietly breaks loose.

Intrigued yet?

I hope so. Go see it.

Car Crashes?: They’ll never get the upholstery clean…
Denigration of Women?: Not really. DETONATION of…
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Tough guys, yes. My own eyes were too tired to know more than that.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: Uh-huh!
Big Twist Ending?: The film almost twists itself into a Mobieus Strip.
Jungle Fever?: Desert Heat.

CARDIO?: Most people moved pretty deliberately, but you’d probably need to learn desert survival techniques.
DOUBLE-TAP?: No need, really. Once is enough in this flick.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: I’d check every part of any car in the county.

Skeeters’ Summary: Well, that was different. And different is good! Four for Four on the premieres!

The last premiere beckoned. With just two minutes between films, I retreated to my beanbag with what I thought were the last of my Candy Bar-sourced Wine Gums. (As it turned out, the ACTUAL last of them were still in my bag, happily adhering themselves to the frames of my sunglasses. There’s still traces visible today. With this being the last new flick, I was mentally chanting two words.

“Troublemaker Films! Troublemaker Films! Troublemaker Films!”

The movie started. It wasn’t from Troublemaker Films.

Fuck it. I was really hoping it was MACHETE.

Part 11: Did Squidly Diddly go Into Porn?
Sunday 09:20-MONSTERS

Once this flick started, my lack-of-badass-Danny-Trejo disappointment vanished after a rock-‘em, sock-‘em opening. MONSTERS is set in the unspecified future, after a crashed space probe populates a huge chunk of North America with alien creatures. We get some good glimpses of them in them in the pre-credits sequence, as the military burn a tiny chunk of the annual Defence Budget in quick time. I was pumped. A good old-fashioned monster flick, with some beautifully-realised special effects! Bring it on!

And then we headed to Mexico and met our leads. They talked. And talked and drank. And talked some more. And partied. And travelled. And talked.

Oh, no. A familiar sinking feeling was coming over me. I’d seen this phenomena before.

You see, back in the early part of the decade, I used to review B-Movies on my badly-coded Geocities site. And the type of flick I used to watch was often cheap-ass direct-to-DVD monster flicks. (Invariably made by Nu Image Films and quite often featuring Casper van Diem or Corbin Bernsen in some role or other.) Like MONSTERS, most had one-word titles that summed them up VERY literally. (OCTOPUS, SPIDERS, SUPERCROC, etc.) These films were all pretty formulaic, and all dealt with their micro-budget the same way. A quick glimpse of the titular creature at the start of the flick, another halfway through, and then they’d go all-out to blow the CGI budget in the finale.

But those were low-budget affairs, right? This movie was beautiful, and the monsters themselves (Gargantuan land-based squids) were amazing to look at. They were seamlessly integrated into the film, while still having an ethereal sense unreality to highlight their alien nature. (Fuck me, who gave this part of the recap to a Film School graduate?) Surely this wasn’t one of those cheapies?

Suffice it to say, I was blown away when Doug told me the estimated budget later. FIFTEEN THOUSAND U.S? The Asylum spends more than that when they make their mockbusters. (And that being said, will they make a lower-budget remake of this one? CREATURES, perhaps?)

Admittedly, the director himself has indicated that the $15K figure is an under-estimation. It’s still been made for what the average flick starring George Clooney would spend on hair products. And they made damn sure that every dollar they spent is right there on screen.

It’s just not there often enough for a movie called MONSTERS. Forty-five minutes passed between the first glimpse of the creatures and their next appearance. And then there’s a long gap before the last few minutes provide the money shots. (An appropriate turn of phrase, as a we get to witness aliens making the Beast With Two Backs and a Fuckload of Tentacles. It’s probably the best-shot sex scene of the night, and thankfully doesn’t feature Rudy Ray Moore’s butt.)

Reading up on the flick since the marathon, I have to applaud the film-makers for an amazingly polished flick. Unfortunately, it was a flick that could never live up to it’s title or premise. And a flick that joins THE RUINS in my mental Recycle Bin as one that really did nothing for me.

Running Themes?: Some might have been in there, but by now, a fortnight after the show, nothing really springs to mind.

Skeeters’ Summary: Well-made, but ultimately hollow, walk-and-talk flick. With monsters.

Part 12: House of 1,000 Nutzoids

After a final break, we headed back for the final push. With just four hours to run, squeezing in three more flicks was looking unlikely. Unless one was an hour-long missing-reel quickie and no other calamity ensued. Unbeknownst to me, right about this time, Ant was rushing to the Emergency Ward, his son having managed to pull a heavy weight onto his head at home. He was back before the end of the show, as the kid had avoid giving himself any major injuries. (Which is par for the course with kids… they’re amazingly resilient at times.)

Personal dramas aside, there was no disasters pending in this flick. If you don’t count the writing, acting and special effects. Yep, we’re in low-budget regional horror territory! This flick had the typical grindhouse look, halfway between “weathered” and “snuff flick”. Right off the bat we were introduced to some fairly average actors, playing the most remarkable collection of characters we’d seen all night. You see, the flick is set in a private mental institution, and whoever bashed out the script decided he needed to include the entire Collectors Set of Clichéd Loonies.

So, cue the Gigantic Lobotomy Patient With the Mental Age of Eight. The Korean War Vet Who’s Still Thinks He’s In Country. The Weepy Woman Who Thinks a Doll is Her Baby. A Generically Cackling Old Harpy Old. An Annoying Redhead Who’s Only Character Trait is Tormenting the Other Loony’s And Annoying The Piss Out of Me. The Former Judge With Anger Issues. And the Mis-Treated Women With the Major Case of Nymphomamia.. Nympomay.. Nymmymmn… Damn, it HOT NIGHTS ON CAMPUS, now you’ve got me doing it!

There’s also Sadistic Head Nurse and Doctor Whoops, I Appear to Have an Axe in My Torso! (That’ll teach you to turn your back on Judge Angrypants, doc.)

With Doctor Axe-Back removed from the cast list within five minutes, care of the assorted wackjobs falls to Sadistic Head Nurse and Sweet and Innocent Assistant Nurse, who’s just arrived to join the staff. There’s the usual outbreak of long-winded exposition, in which discouraged from staying by Sadistic Nurse and outright told to get to steppin’ by Overacting Crazy Old Lady. (In our second case of Pantomime Crone-ing of the night. Seriously, how many actresses HAVE been influenced by Spike Milligan’s BADJELLY THE WITCH ?)

We crank up the gore factor as someone the proceeds to perform a tongue-ectomy on Granny Buzzkill. Ooh, maybe this is some sort of TEN LITTLE (INSANE) INDIANS thing we’re watching? Oddly enough, Granny No-Tongue survives the ordeal and even gets some more quasi-dialogue later. Is it too late to make Inaudible Dialogue a running theme? (Let’s face it, with the start of RAPPIN’, the hilariously muffled telephone calls in WALK THE DARK STREET and the blown speaker, it definitely featured fairly regularly.)

Meanwhile, the producer throw some nudity at us, in the form of Constantly Disrobing Nympho Lady. She tries to seduce half the cast, usually by treating us to the least appealing set of Lady-Lumps revealed all night. When a telephone repairman show up, you could almost hear the porno sax player unsnapping the catches on his case. Of course, being a five-alarm nutbar, Nympholady doesn’t let the telephone tech get in more than a few cheap gropes before she dispatches him rather messily. (Or does she? No seriously, that part’s a little ambiguous, doubly so after twenty-some hours of brain abuse.)

But that’s the type of movie it is. A little talking, some less-than-arousing nudity, and some graphic, if not overly-convincing violence. It throws in a twist we all saw coming, then has the balls to re-use the same twist and somehow make it surprising. Most of the characters, while undeniably being people you’d never want to hang out with, still have their quirks and charms that make them fun to watch. With the glaring exception of Redhead Asshole Kid. He really DID make me want to commit Felony Tongue Removal.

The flick ended with a mass murder in which pretty much every major character got a blood-soaked close-up. It was here I launched my only semi-public gag, which was only caught by the people in the row behind me. As the camera lingered on the red paint-streaked body of The Sarge, who was by far my favourite character, I silently saluted. The folks behind me seemed to appreciate it. I contemplated a more public “DISSS-MISS!”, but the moment passed quickly.

You’ll notice that’s a fairly skimpy write-up. Am I trying to protect the plot elements to make you hunt down the flick?

Nah. Actually, it’s simply that I’ve been writing this recap for two weeks and most of the flick is kind of a blur. But it was fun in it’s own twisted little way, and it lived up to it’s title. In fact, far from looking in it, no-one even mentioned they HAD a basement until the last five minutes, setting up one of the more ludicrous twists of the night.

And it’s a better-made “DON’T” flick than “DON’T GO IN THE WOODS”. By a long, long way.

Car Crashes?: Nope.
Denigration of Women?: Lots
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: All of them. And half the women.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: The Judge becomes the Executioner at one point.
Big Twist Ending?: The lunatics really ARE running the asylum!
Jungle Fever?: EVERYTHING Fever.

CARDIO?: The finale involved people walking up the same set of stairs about fifty times, so yes.
DOUBLE-TAP?: Double Hack good enough for you?
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: If you like, but DON’T LOOK.. oh, you know? Good.

Skeeters’ Summary: I’m guessing it would make a fun Halloween party flick if you’ve had a few beers before.

Post-flick, I checked my watch. Heading toward half-twelve. Time was now seriously against us.

I got back to my beanbag, figuring I’d finish out the show in the front row for a change. I was doing pretty well, having sailed through tiredness and into an oddly comfortable zone where even my stomach had stopped bitching about a lack of decent food. Ant let us know we were about to watch a film starring an actor the Marathon had somehow managed to overlook so far. One Charles Bronson. And incredibly, the title didn’t involve the words “Wish” or “Death” in any combination, despite being directed by one Michael Winner.

Part 13-Don’t Fuck With Chuck, Part 2
Sunday, 12:40-ish-THE MECHANIC

Having seen this movie, I can now make a bold statement.

Fuck the DEATH WISH series. In the ear. THIS is the definitive Charles Bronson movie. It’s a fantastic piece of 70’s action, starring big Chuck B as one of the more bad-ass middle-age men you’ll ever meet. He’s a “Mechanic”, for which you can substitute “Hitman” if you’re not familiar with mob parlance. Jan-Michael Vincent co-stars as his protégée, a ballsy decision on Chucks part as he just whacked the kids father.

As you can probably guess, that particular plot point means the shit is almost destined to hit the fan before the end of the flick.

And hit it, it does.

I’m loathe to write too much about this flick, and it’s not just the backache and the thought of spellchecking a 17,000+ word document that makes me say that. It needs to be seen cold, like I did. It’s a terrific flick, with some beautifully 70’s car chases, great stunts (The Motorcycle Leap of Death was my favourite, despite the huge, sustained cheering for the “Holy Crap, Now THAT’S One Hell of a Cliff” Car Wreck.) and an ending that deserved a standing ovation. Too bad none of us has the energy left to do so.

Just see it sometime. You’ll thank me for it.

Car Crashes?:
Second and third best ones of the night.
Denigration of Women?: Not that I recall.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Bronson: Tough Guy with Old Man Eyes.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: I’m taking the Fifth.
Big Twist Ending?: See above.
Jungle Fever?: Nahh…

CARDIO?: Scuba-diving looks tiring.
DOUBLE-TAP?: Good Mechanics only need one shot.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: I sure would if I was either of those guys.

Skeeters’ Summary: Ant later told us he’d been unable to get BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. I think this was a more than worthy substitute. Great flick.

Ant hit the stage afterwards and dropped a bombshell.

We were done.

The Aftermath
Sunday 14:20-ish: Go Get Some Sleep, People!

It was over for another year. With only 40 minutes or so left, we had no chance of getting movie fourteen going. Game over, man! Game over!

Ant’s final film was apparently a last-second brain-breaker, brought in to replace what would have been our second John Carpenter finale in five years. He’s determined to play it in 2011 and therefore wouldn’t even tell us what it was. Ooh, twelve months to make wildly inaccurate guesses on the forum!

We instead settled for a leisurely DVD giveaway session. Ant dispensed with the usual Trivia contest, opting instead for a “Guess My Favourite Bit of the Flick” game. I could have won a couple of times, but Ant seemed to delight in only picking me out of the crowd when my guess wasn’t even in the ballpark. Ant also screened the winning Marathon Trailer, the ad-hoc speaker system preventing him from showing all the entries. (Although to be honest, I’m only about 50% sure that they were screened here and not before THE MECHANIC. The Marathon messes with your head.)

My trailer? It didn’t win. Surprise! Ant did promise to show the whole collection at the 2011 Marathon, so I have a whole year to practise my cringing.

Eventually, the prizes were handed out and Ant declared the festivities over. I made sure I had enough voice left to get the crowd to give Ant a huge round of applause. Frankly, he deserved it. Thirteen films on the bill, and for me, thirteen new experiences. Yep, the first Marathon since 2003’s eight-hour walk in the park in which I hadn’t seen ANY of the films before.

The audience had been superb, with 90% at least still around at the end of the day. There’d been no incidents of chip-rustling and very little shooshing of talkers. In fact, a few days afterwards, Ant remarked that the audience was almost “Too respectful”. Ooh, carte blanche to get busy with the public wisecracks next year!

In all seriousness, it really was remarkably quiet during even the cheesiest of flicks this year. Ant thinks it was to do with his nutzoid intro, but I have a different theory. I personally think that it was because the flicks were just too damn interesting this year.

Sure, RAPPIN’ was camper than the cast of CABERET on K-Road, but there was few gags that could have been levelled at it that would have been funnier than what was on-screen. DEATHSTALKER was probably prime riffing material, but its timeslot prevented a joke-fest. HOT NIGHTS ON CAMPUS’s reel goof meant it was baffling rather than boring and DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT was sick, twisted fun on a bun. They were all films you WANTED to watch, not goof off in.

And THE HUMAN TORNADO? It’s impossible to make jokes when your jaw is stuck to the auditorium floor.

Don’t worry, Ant. One of these years we’ll find the balance between “Cinema Snob” and “Rowdy Drunks”.

We cleaned up as quickly and efficiently as we could and headed out into the light. Andrew had planned on shooting a crowd scene for GHOST SHARK, so some of us headed across to the park over the road. Ten minutes of milling around later, he called off the shoot, which was probably a good idea. If the director can’t focus, I’m pretty sure the footage is going to be a little blurry, too.

I borrowed a cell phone and called home. By the time Dawn drove up, the Crew had dispersed, leaving only myself, and one other Marathon-eer on the steps of the Hollywood. Rappin’ Jesus and his equally long-haired friends had been hanging around too, but left shortly before Dawn arrived. Peace out, Tiny Messiah!

I headed home for my first solid meal all weekend. I was feeling pretty wide awake, but it turned out to be a cruel hoax my body was playing on me. This led directly to the creation of a brand-new Marathon Survival Tip.

Post-Marathon Rule #1: NO HOT DRINKS!

I learnt that by settling down in my Lay-Z-Boy with a cup of herbal tea. Luckily, I’d nearly finished it by the time I suddenly dropped off. Unluckily, the small amount remaining in my mug was still fairly warm as I poured it directly into my crotch.

Y’know, it’s amazing how wide awake you get after pouring hot tea onto your nutsack. I was able to stay up long enough to eat Halloween candy, (Just two groups of trick-or-treaters this year. One had even made an effort in their costumes! They got double Treats.) watch the World Series of Poker, and even started the Marathon Diary. (Which required a HELL of a lot of spellcheking the next day, of course.) I finally crashed out at midnight, some forty hours after Aiden got me out of bed on Saturday. Sleep is nice.

The Final Thoughts

A typically diverse line-up this year, with some strong new flicks and some VERY memorable oldies. Not as hard on the brain as 2009, but thankfully, not as hard on the body either. The real pain for me has been this recap, thanks to a lack of time, coupled with a doozy of a cold. (Aiden came down with one a few days after the show.. and when a two-year-old gets a cold, everyone on nose-wiping duty gets it, too.) Amazingly, making sense of THE HOLY MOUNTAIN was easier than doing the same to THE HUMAN TORNADO.

The war flick may have been in the wrong place, but we’ll pin the blame on the blown speaker. The gratuitous boob-shots were plentiful, the good films were VERY good and the promised Level Seven flick never showed it’s head. (But, OH how I hope Ant goes for it next year.)

A really solid show for both veterans and newbies alike. Roll on, 2011… right Vendetta Films?


Fingers crossed.

Oh, and Cherie. You owe me a dollar.

Nov. 2nd, 2010


2010 Movie Marathon Mixtape


1) Telstar-Adapted in “Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video”
2) Main Titles-Commando
3) The Touch-From “Tranformers: The Motion Picture”)
4) Main Titles-Hook
5) Young Blood-Radio Spot
6) Short Eyes-From "Short Eyes"
7) Caleb’s Blues-Near Dark
8) Blue Velvet-From “Blue Velvet”
9) Raising Heaven (In Hell Tonight)-From “Roadhouse”
10) Amanda’s Blues-Death Walks at Midnight
11) Main Titles-The Last Emperor
12) Trust Me-From “The Informant!”
13) INTERMISSION: Music to Drive By-Alan Moorhouse
14) Stridulum Theme-The Visitor (AKA Stridulum)
15) Don’t Answer the Phone-Radio Spot
16) The Descent-The Descent
17) The Call-From “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
18) Main Title-The Notebook
19) Bellvue Rendezvous-From “The Triplets of Bellvue”
20) Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary-Radio Spot
21) (Restless Heart) Running Away With You-From “The Running Man”
22) Estasi Dell Anima-Zombieland
23) Everybody’s Got Something to Do (Cobbled-Together Youtube Bootleg)-From “Night Train to Terror”


1) Joes Apartment Theme-Mel Torme and the Roach Chorus
2) Main Titles-Star Trek: First Contact
3) Who Made Who-From “Maximum Overdrive”
4) The Goonies “R” Good Enough-From “The Goonies”
5) You’re So Cool-True Romance
6) Banana Splits Theme (Dickies Cover Version)-From “Kick-Ass”
7) The Diva Dance-The Fifth Element
8) The Origin of Love-From “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
9) Main Theme-Cliffhanger
10) Deepest Blue (Shark’s Fin)-From “Deep Blue Sea”
11) In Your Eyes-From “Say Anything”
12) The Friends Song-The Princess Bride
13) Brother’s Gonna Work it Out-from “The Mack”
14) La Valse d’amelie-Amilie
15) Absolute Beginners-from “Absolute Beginners”
16) Illia’s Theme-Star Trek the Motion Picture
17) The Apple-from “The Apple”
18) Book of Days-from “Far and Away”
19) Long Title (Do I Have to Do it All Over Again)-from “Head”
20 Neverending Story-From “The Neverending Story”
21) Highly Illogical-from Leonard Nimoy’s Ill-Advised 70’s LP
22) Theme From Star Trek-Funky Spock Version
23) Joes Apartment Theme (Reprise)-The Roach Chorus

Nov. 13th, 2009


The 2009 Vendetta Movie Marathon Review, Part 1


Ever had one of those moments where you go from “YES!” to “God-dammit!” in mere seconds? Y’know, mis-read the lottery numbers and briefly thought you were a millionaire, only to realise you were still broke, and would have to face returning to work on Monday while desperately hoping your meagre paycheque would stretch to payday?

That’s how I felt when the first 24-Hour Marathon announcement of ’09 appeared. It was on! It was the tenth anniversary, and Ant was going to ensure it was the biggest, baddest, brain-melting-est of them all! Oh, and it was probably going to be the last one.

Fuck. I felt like someone had given me a kitten for Christmas, then casually mentioned that they were going to drown it on Boxing Day.

It turned out that V, the major sponsor for the last few years, had pulled their funding. (presumably citing the Global Economic Meltdown, as everyone else has been doing recently.) The show was to go on, but would be costing Ant a ton of moolah. And so, he was going to go out in a blaze of cinematic glory and pull the plug.

The reaction from the Filmheads on the 48 Hours message board was as predictable as it was swift. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, calls to boycott V’s delicious-but-ambiguously-flavoured beverage and calls to start looking for a new sponsor ASAP (I mooted Red Bull… if they can pay for Formula One cars, one little film show would be a drop in the bucket. And I can’t STAND Red Bull.) And then something appeared on the Marathon News page…

It was a still from Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland”. Alice and… a knight. A White Knight.

Ant had found a new sponsor.

And so, the V Movie Marathon was no more. From its ashes rose the Vendetta Movie Marathon, sponsored by Vendetta Films, an online DVD retailer. Even better, Vendetta had offered a two-year commitment, meaning that not only was this years show in the bag, I could already start planning for 2010! (Okay, I’ll give it a couple of months. All right, weeks.)

So with the nerd-herd placated, it was time to fire the big announcements out onto Facebook. The first premiere was to be [REC 2], sending me on a dash to find the original. I meant to watch it earlier this year, but it’s been a busy year for me. As mentioned in last years review, we have a new baby in the house. Who’s now a crawling, dribbling toddler who can go from a standing start to yanking the cats tail on the other side of the room in about 9/10ths of a second. For a while there, I was watching movies in 20 minute bursts, quite often finishing them 2 days after I first put the DVD in.

Secondly, my new job of wine telemarketing has taken the usual course for any telemarketing job. A few weeks of training, a few months of enjoying the new working environment, followed by a year of learning to hate pretty much every human being in the country. Silly me, expecting people who are in a telephone-based wine club to actually treat the telemarketers like anything more than a psychic, (“Don’t you know not to call during Coronation Street!”) gullible, (“I’m in a meeting!” Really, then why can I hear cows? Are they in the meeting too?) annoyance. (*CLICK* Yep, thanks for hanging up on me, asshole.) And so, the last few months before the Marathon has become a grind, leaving me updating my C.V and preparing to head out into a weak job market to find something less irritating.

It took me three days to watch [REC], too. Because I had to watch it alone. Dawn still refuses to watch horror movies at night, you see. I watched most of it in two short bursts, then held off what I thought was the much-talked about ultra-scary final fifteen minutes. It had been creepy enough as is. Doubly so after the neighbours cat took an unexpected stroll across the living room roof. At midnight, with the lights off. Furry bastard. The next day I flipped it back on, only to discover the flick was only 70 minutes long. Ninety seconds later, the credits were rolling.

Good film.

The other movie announced was ZOMBIELAND. (Two new zombie flicks in one year? I hope Ant spaces them out.) This one is apparently a zom-com, ala. SHAUN OF THE DEAD. I’m avoiding watching the trailer or reading any reviews of the film, wanting to go in cold.

After a slow start to ticket sales there was suddenly unexpected news. The Marathon had sold out for the first time ever! (Probably aided by the fact that Wellingtons’ show was once more a no-go, due to the capitals sluggish reaction at the box office.) The “House Full” sign caught one of the newer members of the Bad Movie Crew by surprise. Campbell Cooley, actor, director and holder of a DBA (Doctorate in Boob Appreciation) had joined the Crew this year. Luckily, a week later Ant announced that there were a last few precious tickets up for grabs. Campbell is now locked in for his first 24-Hour ‘Thon. Fresh meat! Fresh meat! One of us! Gobble, gobble, one of us! The regulars of the B-Movie Crew are well represented, with Dave “Steelpotato” Brough flying up from Wellington. Andrew “Entomocephalous” Todd is joining us from Christchurch, while Aucklanders (and honorary Aucklanders) Steve “Bionicmanenator”Austin, Doug “Fallback” Dillaman, and Cherie “Insert Witty Nickname Here” Nouwens are attending again. Alistair “ATS” Tye-Sampson, who I met for the first time last year is back again… probably a fan for life after getting to see KRULL on the big screen. I helped co-write a couple of shorts for him with Doug, making him an honorary BMC Member, despite not getting to a Bad Movie Afternoon yet. (Probably scared off by Doug’s less-than positive review of ZOMBIE LAKE.) Steve Chow is also set, along with a number of 48-hour film board members I hadn’t met before.

My own ticket situation is a little less clear. Ant had decided to sell the tickets from the 48 Hours website, after finding Ticketek had been charging up to TWELVE DOLLARS as a “Booking Fee” last year. I clicked the link the same day it went live, only to discover it was Credit Card only. I’d cancelled my Visa (okay, VisaS. And the MasterCard.) some years back to curb my spendthrift ways. I quickly fired off an e-mail to Ant. He replied that it was no worries, my seat was assured. I sent back another a week later, asking if he wanted cash in advance, or if I should bring a briefcase full of money to the show. (The tickets are NZ$65 this year, so maybe a camera case would suffice.) Ants reply was exactly the same. I’ve saved you a seat, nothing to worry about. No mention of payment options. He’d comped me from 2003 to 2007 in exchange for these lengthy reviews, but I purchased my ticket in ‘08 after hearing that these days were eating into his pocket regardless of ticket sales. Now, a week out, I’m still unsure as to whether I’m getting a free pass or not.

This has been further complicated by a piece of breathtaking corporate BS from my place of employment, the net result of which was losing over $100 a fortnight in commission. (Which was then re-added to my bank account later, only to be consumed by mortgage payments. Don’t ask.) By the time the Marathon screens, I’ll be lucky to scrape up half of the ticket price. Oh well, if the bank account is dry, I’ll have to write a more-glowing review than usual. (“Ant was looking great… tanned, trim and terrific. Woman wanted him, men wanted to be him…”)

On second thoughts, I’ll just take him a bottle or two of good wine and hopefully we’ll call it even.

The 2009 Movie Marathon Mixtape was completed early, and 20 or so copies have been burnt. It’s been on high rotation for me already, being my favourite disc since the inaugural 2006 edition. I’ve even given it a “theme” this year… that being “A Night at the Hollywood”. The CD starts off with a Wurlitzer Intro (an old ragtime version of The Charleston I found on a very anorak-y Wurlitzer fan-site), rolls into a trailer right off the bat and even has an intermission. It’s “The Theme From A Summer Place”, which for me is the ultimate 1970’s intermission music. I’m also happy with some of the more obscure tracks I found. As well as an 80’s punk track used in THE HIDDEN, I managed to track the soundtrack to THE HOLY MOUNTAIN. My internal filtering system prevented me from using the more “avant-garde” (read “Batshit crazy”) tracks in favour of a more melodic one. A blaxploitation website also had a rip of the theme to THE BLACK GESTAPO. Took me six years to find it, but it’s on there.

Thankfully, a month or so before the show, Telecom (very quietly) announced that speed limits on uploads were being raised. (After the “Super-fast, UNLEASHED broadband!” fiasco that pretty much crashed the entire country’s Internet a few years back.) This meant I could at last put the 2006-2008 discs online for those who’d missed out. I also ran off a complete back-catalogue for regular attendee Glen Blomfield, who, despite missing out on them each year, referred to them as “legendary” on Facebook. I like flattery.

And so, I’m pretty set for the ‘thon. Seven days and change and counting. To quote BREAKIN’, there’s no stopping me!


I nearly stopped me.

Blame it my new-found Fatherhood Gene, which allows you to make stupid decisions pretty much at will. The Sunday before the show, both Dawn and I had the day off for Labour Weekend, letting us have some family time. Mid-morning, Aiden spontaneously started pressing the PLAY button on one of his musical toys and dancing along on his knees like a background extra in Fraggle Rock. “Get the video camera!” Dawn said. I bounded upstairs, grabbed the camcorder and shot back, vaulting the child safety gate at the bottom of the stairs in my haste to get the shot.

The ceiling ABOVE the child safety gate is a very solid wooden beam. At five-seven, I’ve never worried about it before. Do you see where this is leading?

The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the floor with blood dripping into my lap, while Dawn dashed for a towel and an ice-pack. I even did that clichéd head injury thing where I said “I’m fine, I’m fine!” and tried to stand up. The net result was a combination of a long cut, a good-sized scrape and a decent-sized lump on my melon. No concussion, thankfully. I have now resolved to STEP over the gate. Or hell, even open it instead.

The major problem this posed for me was my usual pre-Marathon haircut. It’s currently on hold until my head heals up a little more. I’ll be a little more hirsute than normal this year.


A new announcement in the last few days. The start time, tentatively set at 4PM, has been pushed back to 3PM instead. The end time is possibly around 5PM. Our 24-hour filmfest just hit 26 hours. That’s a combination of awesome and intimidating. It also means anyone printing out this review will need to make it a hardcover.

My preparations have been less organised than usual this year. I’m in the BYO seating section, but haven’t managed to secure a beanbag yet. (And with my available funds bottoming out quickly, probably won’t.) At this stage it looks like I’ll be dragging my old campchair out of storage for the first time since the ’04 show and setting it up way the side of the stalls to avoid blocking peoples view. My biggest problem this year isn’t seating, though. It’s my torch. I spent a few hours trying to charge it up. Zippo. It’s dead. Useless. A paperweight. My second option was a Winnie-the-Pooh torch purchased as a gift for my niece. (Turned out she already had one.) This is ALSO not functioning. I think my notes are going to be even less readable than usual. (Not to mention that my watch battery died a few months back, and I never replaced it. Expect approximate times throughout the review.)

My “training regime” of genre films has been pretty good, however. I sourced a number of flicks screened in Marathons past, and ran through them over a fairly packed ten days or so. BOARDING HOUSE was somehow LESS coherent than it seemed at the ’02 show, despite watching it wide awake and not buzzed on too much sugar and caffeine. FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE was still great, but brutal in the cold light of day. And BONNIE’S KIDS was something of a chore to get through. One the other claw, THE BLACK GESTAPO is still a fantastic (if cheap) watch and GODZILLAS REVENGE is batshit crazy. (And refuses to end, to boot.)

And in an effort to make the last 7 years go full circle, I’ll be trying to fit in at least part of REVENGE OF THE CHEERLEADERS the night before the show. Unless Hasselhofs dinky scares me off.

The Cooler Bag of Delights was originally going to be tossed aside for the Chilly Bin of Value Snacks this year. I’d planned on a sandwich or two, a bowl of cereal for the morning if I can work out the milk/sugar/utensils logistics, a few plain biscuits and two frozen water bottles. In the end, the whole lot fit comfortably into the Cooler Bag. Hopefully I’ll have a bit of pocket change for something hot on the Sunday morning. (Yes, I’m really THAT broke this year. I expect to be schmoozing sugary treats off the BMA Crew in exchange for their CD’s.)

I also put together a twin-pack of Matua Valley wine for Ant. (2007 Ararimu Chardonnay, a double-gold medal winner and 2007 Bullrush Merlot, which is excellent.) The Street Value of the wine was exactly the same as the Ticket Price. If it doesn’t get me in the door, at least I’ll have something good to drink while I wait for an opportunity to sneak in the back.

The video camera is charged up, even though I didn’t do anything with last years footage. I’m as good an editor as I am a cinematographer, it seems. Maybe I’ll send the lot to Andrew Todd afterwards and let him stitch it together.


Well, we’re pretty much as set as we can be. It’s time to check out a snippet of RotCheerleaders, crash out and get ready to have our minds blown.

Bring it on.


Prologue: The Long Walk and the Lamington of Deception

Saturday, the 31st of October, 2009. A nice spring day in Auckland. I was up at 8AM, thanks to Aidens new morning regime of an early start, followed by a morning nap. This gave me around seven hours sleep, thanks mainly in part to my classic inability to label my DVD boxes correctly. In other words, I couldn’t find REVENGE OF THE CHEERLEADERS. I watched the last half of THE THING instead, having fallen asleep in front of the TV watching it a few night back. (1AM movies with toddlers in the house just don’t work, folks.)

My packing was completed the moment Dawn turned on my “broken” torch. It worked perfectly. Must have needed a womans touch. She also gave me a $20 bill from the “gas and essentials” fund with instructions to get a Lotto ticket and use a little for snacks. Not the whole lot, of course. Even though I’m pretty good at that.

I dressed for comfort, not fashion as always. T-shirt and shorts, with a pair of tracksuit pants and my still-hanging-in-there V Pyjama top in the backpack for warmth.

I had actually planned to meet up with the B-Movie Crew and 48-Hour Film Messageboard attendees around 1 in the afternoon. The doors weren’t due to open until 2:30, but this would give us plenty of time to shoot the shit, stack the front of the line with regulars, and maybe allow my to shoot some “pre-game” footage.

My first big glitch occurred around 12. My mother, who was coming over to baby-sit Aiden, called me. She’d said she be around at 12:30, only to have an old friend call her that morning. I love my mother, but I’ll tell you thing… once she’s on the phone, there isn’t a force on Gods’ green Earth that’ll get her off. One 90-minute conversation later, she was running way behind. The boy was also taking an extended morning nap. My ETA was never going to happen. One o’clock rolled around. No mother, the boy was just stirring. I got him up and fed him. 1:30, he’s fed, I’m practically kicking the walls. 1:40, still no sign of Mum and so we packed the boy into our car and set off, meaning Dawn was going to have to boot it to Avondale and back in order to get ready for work.

Oh well, if you’re going to have a glitch, make it early, right? Nothing else could go wrong, surely.

Of course it could. And don’t call me Shirley.

I was in Avondale just before 2. Ant was outside, snapping photos for the website. The shot of me arriving will be dominated by my huge, nerdy grin. The nerd-herd was already trailing down the road from the theatre. Knowing my compadres, I skirted the queue to see who was right outside the door. Dave “Steelpotato” Brough was of course holding pole position, right up on the steps. (Along with his sister, whose name I always forget.) I said a brief “Hi”, dumped my gear next to him and set off in search of a Lotto shop.

I may have mentioned this before, but Avondale isn’t my favourite suburb. It’s very low-rent, with huge amounts of the stores devoted to money loans and takeaway foods. I headed to where I knew a Lotto shop used to be. It had closed. There was a stationery store further down the street. That had closed, too. Damn you, Global Recession! I kept walking. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Great. I needed local help.

The closest thing was a bakery. I popped in, purchased a cream-less Lamington and asked for directions. The nice lady didn’t think there was a Lotto shop on the main drag, so I’d have to head down Rosebank Road to the service station, and there was one there.

Rosebank Road is LONG, man. I just had to hope the place was close. I set off at a half-walk, half-jog. Nothing whatsoever. I ran out of shops and into houses. I stubbornly kept going. I hit the Avondale racecourse. Shit. I swung left onto Ash Street, hoping that the service station next to the racecourse was the one she meant. It wasn’t. I kept going, hoping I looked like a jogger to the traffic. (The shorts and shirts combo might have worked. The fact I was using a Lamington to boost my energy might have been a giveaway.) This seemed to be the first marathon I’d end with a suntan, however.

By now, I knew the nice lady with the middling English had sent me the wrong way. I was figuring I could always cut back down the next connecting street to Avondale, though.

I was assuming there WAS a connecting street, of course.

Fun fact. There isn’t. Pretty soon I wasn’t just in the wrong area, I was in the wrong SUBURB. Seriously, I was in New Lynn, running a massive, pointless circuit. On the day, I estimated I ran about 5 kilometres, and a quick check of a map this morning proves I was scarily accurate. Now, I don’t jog. I don’t play sport any more. By the time I was heading back up Great North Road to Avondale, I was in pain. My legs had more lactic acid in them than a cow. I could actually see the Lynmall Shopping Center in the distance, but wasn’t detouring any further to get my 1-in-eight-million chance to get rich. Screw it, I’ll get two next week.

And so, I finally made it back to the Hollywood. With 24+hours of sleep deprivation ahead of me, I was exhausted. This was going to be a tough year.

On the other hand, pretty good Lamington.

By this time, the line was all the way down the road. Dave was already inside, so I reclaimed my gear and joined the back of the line. My chance of unslinging the video camera was shot, so I got into a long conversation with a familiar-looking young lady whose name I either never got, or can’t remember. There were plenty of regulars around, and oddly people I recognised from my varied jobs. Andon, aka Red-Dyed Mohawk Guy from one of the North Shore Glengarry’s stores, for instance. (Someone I knew on sight, but had never really talked to. Since the show, I’ve had an animated conversation about the flicks with him and been invited to join his B-flick-loving friends for 70’s grindhouse trash at some stage. I love the Marathon.)

It turned out I was on the Guest List, but I dropped off my vino-related bribery anyway. Besides, it’s the Tenth Anniversary, the guy needs SOMETHING to toast the occasion. We were given wristbands this year in lieu of tickets. Excellent, from a distance I look like I’m being charitable about something. I made it into the auditorium, which was being filled with Wurlitzer music as always. (Apparently, my late entry meant I missed hearing a Wurlitzer version of the Battlestar Galactica theme. Damn.) I stopped to let my eyes adjust, trying to work out where the Crew was at. As I did, a voice from knee level said “Hey, Skeeter!”. It was Doug.

The majority of the Crew had claimed the first row of seating, along with the stage left section of floor space. Annette “Not Ms. Fallback” was there as well, plus David Stuckey (A long-time attendee whose name I finally locked down from Facebook photos after the show. I’m so bad at names.) and “Phil Baby” from the 48-Hour Board. (Admittedly, I only found out who was Phil Baby at the very end of the show.)

Steelpotato and his sis had taken up position in the middle of the floor at Ants feet. Andrew Todd and forum member Cardinal (attending his first show) were front and center at the foot of the screen. The floor was packed, meaning my campchair idea was dead in the water. However, not having seen Cherie, I scanned the usual row in the stalls. And yep, there she was, sitting next to two unfamiliar faces. They turned out to be first-timers, I never got their names, but I can report they performed with distinction, lasting out the entire show.

I distributed CD’s out to the Crew, the 2 newbies in my row and a couple of random people in Alistair’s row. This turned out to be the first year I ran out of discs, so apologies to the Forum member who ran into me at the end of the show. Maybe I’ll make a few more next year.

I joined Cherie in the cheap seats as Margaret finished her set and descended gracefully out of sight. Ants’ entrance was less than graceful, however. He arrived, ducked into the wings and emerged again after a few seconds of muffled banging. (And probably some muffled cursing, too.) Apparently, the stage door was still locked. He scoped out any alternative routes to the stage, but no go. Eventually he announced “Show’s over, thanks for coming!” and headed off to find a key. Like I said, better to get your glitches out the way early, right?

And so, after a minor delay, Ant hit the stage. He told us that some of the flicks tonight were very personal to him, presumably films that really kicked off his collecting bug. But there was one more glitch to tell us about. A pretty major one. For the first time in the decade-long history of the Marathon, a print hadn’t turned up. Not arrived in unplayable shape. Not disintegrated on the reels, as occurred twice last year. Just never made it to the show on time. Which flick?

[REC 2].

I was emotionally torn. On one hand, I really wanted to see [REC 2]. Tempering my disappointment was the knowledge that I no longer had the possibility of screaming like a little girl in public, or being crushed if it turned out to be a lesser effort than the original. And in the back of mind, the frustration that [REC 2] had been lost, but ANACONDA 2 had shown up safe and sound.

It was now just after twenty past three. Time to get the show officially on the road with our now-traditional Film Classic. The lights dimmed, the curtains opened (which I say every time, even though the Hollywood, unlike the Civic, doesn’t HAVE curtains!) and once more, we were a’marathoning!

Part 1: Never Fuck With a Florist
Saturday 15:25-THE SECRET FOUR

I’d like to thank Cherie for the (fairly) accurate start times in this review… she loaned me her watch before the show, thinking she’d stay awake longer if she didn’t know how late/early it was. I repaid her kindness by making dickwad comments like “Wow, it’s not even midnight yet!” for half the show.

We kicked off the long day ahead with a brilliant short film made specially for the occasion. Done in the style of a Russkie propaganda film, it outlined the guidelines for enjoying the show while not making the people around you miserable. The most important rule. Wear Deodorant! (I had. Not long before my 40-minute run. Sorry about that, folks.)

The line up proper began with a piece of Film Noir I’d never heard of. (Bogart’s not in it, you see. Although its alternative title of KANAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL was more than a little familiar.) It’s a tightly plotted Heist/50’s Revenge Flick that made me wonder how many times Quentin Tarrantino had watched it before putting pen to paper. Because the central characters are four career criminals brought together for a job, during which they keep their identities secret via some rather Michael Myers-like masks. Several recognisable names show up, including Lee van Cleef as (no surprise) a villain and Jack Elam, whose lazy eye made me refer to him as “Googly Eye” Pete in my notes.

Things get complicated (as this things tend to do) after the flower delivery man the group sets up as a patsy decides he wants what’s owed to him. And as he’s a former military man and all-around squared-jawed badass, things get ugly pretty damn quick. Throw in a love interest who’s unknowingly connected to the bad guys, a shitload of snappy dialogue and some of the most regular face-punching and bitchslapping of a non-kung-fu-themed Marathon flick and you’re in for a Monochromatically good time.

While some people seemed to prefer last years opener LADY IN A CAGE (probably due to the eye-gouging grittiness of the film) I though this was an excellent opener. You can always tell if a Marathon film is working by the audiences’ reaction. Normally it’s moments of graphic violence or idiotically gratuitous nudity that get the biggest cheers. For this one, it was the excellent dialogue that got us to make some noise. One of the lines was a classic piece of Hayes Code era double entendre directed to the films’ only ‘Woman of Dubious Virtues’, Teresa. She makes some cash on the side at the Tijuana resort selling “souvenirs” for eleven U.S dollars. (A pretty hefty price for earrings in 1952, I’d wager.) When she offers them to our hero, Joe, his ultra-cool reply of “Everyone’s entitled to a few souvenirs” brought the house down. Right up there with Joe Sarnos’ “Vibrations” line from AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, and probably second only to Bogart and Bacalls “Horse” exchange in THE BIG SLEEP. (“But I like to see them workout a little first, see if they're front runners or come from behind…”) Joes’ sure-fire cure for a nosebleed was a killer, too.

All in all, a nice revisit to the time when men were men, smokes were smoked by everyone, and dames could be sexy, intelligent and not bat an eyelid when you accidentally drop your revolver in front of her. Although I learnt one very important lesson from the flick, too.

Never. EVER. Let the insurance agent comfort the bereaved relatives after a shooting. They’re terribly bad at it.

Running Theme Time!

Good Guys Smoking!: It’s 1952. I think they handed out Lucky Strikes in kindergarten.
Sexism: There was a bit of eyebrow-raising that one female character was a law student. But the other was eye-candy and suggestive. Call it a draw.
Sweaty People: Bug-eyed Pete was pretty moist throughout.
Cool Hats: God, I wish I had more chances to wear my fedora. Awesome headgear.
Betrayal: Multiple. As you’d expect from this genre.
Cracking Dialogue: Hell yes. See above.

Skeeters’ Summary: Another good chance to see something with excellent writing, at a time when we’re awake enough to understand it.

I hit up the Candy Bar for a pack of Wine Gums in the break. Props to the Hollywood for not following the major movie chains “You’re Going to Need a Second Mortgage to Afford an Ice-Cream” approach to pricing its snacks.

Saturday, 17:00-ZOMBIELAND

The break between flicks was short, as Ant was aiming for a record-breaking fifteen movies this year. (An ambition that was probably overly-ambitious, and would probably be stymied by any major technical difficulties. Yes, this is foreshadowing.) We cracked straight into the second (and as mentioned, only one that showed) of our Big Two. It’s set for release December 3rd, so I won’t tell you much about the plot.

But trust me, I really, REALLY want to.

It’s a ton of fun, doubly so for zombie flick fans. The basic concept is that The Night/Day/Mid-Afternoon of the Living Dead has come and gone. We’re in the aftermath stage, following one of the least likely survivors across country. He meets up with Woody Harrelson as one of the MOST-likely survivors of a Zombpocolyse. And from then on, it’s laugh-out-loud dialogue, inventive mayhem and one of the best celebrity pisstakes on film.

Sadly, the emergence of the celebrity in question led to our first major technical glitch. I’d popped out to use the facilities after rehydrating excessively following the Long Walk, only to find the theatre in darkness on my return. The sound had gone out, and the projectionist was having to clean the sound heads. This had the unfortunate side-effect of ruining one of the best kills in the film. It also led to the shout of “Rewind it!” from the crowd. To paraphrase Morbo: FILM DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY! This was the start of a number of audio problems throughout the night. Which made a change from the usual film breakages of years past.

But, that minor annoyance aside, the film went down like a house on fire. The crowd ate it up big time. Like DAWN OF THE DEAD, the zombie carnage is contained mainly in the first and last thirds of the film. The middle section is well-written and character-driven… with the occasional bout of gut-munching and zombie-squishing. The whole is fantastically watchable… hopefully multiple times. (Unlike, for me anyway, TEAM AMERICA, which was “The Best Movie EVER!’ at ’04, and is now a flick that barely raises a chuckle. I watch it occasionally, but mainly for the plot and action sequences instead of the gags. That’s fucking odd.)

The film also has the excellent device of THE RULES. There’s a lot of them, designed to help you avoid becoming a Romero-esque Human Niblet, but 3 stood out. (And were quoted endlessly throughout the ‘Thon.) And so, a new Feature will be instituted for the remaining flicks. Did they use the following?


This flick had the lot, of course

Good Guys Smoking!: Nope, but if Twinkies were ciggies, one characters a major addict.
Sexism: Minor, but Tallahassee is like that to everyone.
Sweaty People: Yes, thanks to Rule 1: CARDIO!
Cool Hats: Ten-gallons of awesomeness.
Betrayal: Several times. You just can’t trust some people.
Cracking Dialogue: 45% power? “You wanna see how hard…?” Yep.

And the return of a long, LONG-running theme:

Horrific Leg Injuries: To the undead, at least. But plenty of other horrific injuries in general.

Skeeters’ Summary: Gore+Awesome=GORESOME! Best flick of the year so far.

Part 3: Badasses, Who Tap Asses.
Saturday, 18:40-ROADHOUSE

We were promised a “tribute film” to a fallen star. I think we all guessed it was going to be Swayze-riffic pretty quickly. I know I was chanting “Please be ROADHOUSE, please be ROADHOUSE” under my breath as Ant left the stage. I mean, would have really hit us with DIRTY DANCING or TO WONG FOO…? (Of course, RED DAWN, POINT BREAK or STEEL DAWN would have been acceptable choices.) But frankly, what better film to salute the Sway-ster with? It’s cartoonishly violent, has some excellent over-the-top villainy, a great blues soundtrack and a monster truck. Yes, the villain owns a monster truck. For no reason whatsoever. Can you hate a movie with an inexplicable monster truck? I can’t. It’s also a Double Tribute film, featuring the late Jeff Healey as… well, Jeff Healey. Sure, his character is called “Cody”, but that’s obviously just a pseudonym to explain how a biker bar in Podunk City, Assend of Nowhere, America can afford to have The Jeff Healey Band playing five nights a week.

And from pretty much frame one, the whole shebang is cloaked in some of the most unexpected homoeroticism ever seen in a testosterone-fuelled beat-em-up. Everyone from the bar staff to the bad guys to the local wildlife seem to have a raging bone-on for our Zen-like Hero. It culminates in one of the best-received Idiotically Badass Line of the 80’s. (The truly awe-inspiring “I used to fuck guys like you in prison!”. Yeah, thanks for sharing, dude.) I’ve seen the film before, and trust me, it’s just as funny the second time around.

Now for those who’ve not seen the film, here’s a brief plot summary. The worlds’ best bouncer (or “Cooler”) is poached to help turn a bar full of brawling rednecks and bikers into neon-lit Meat Market full of over-dressed Yuppies who dance badly to Jeff Healey’s Blind White Boy Blues. The towns resident Evil Capitalist takes an instant and inexplicable dislike to our mullet-topped, Tai Chi-doing “cooler”, people get beat the hell up, things get blown the hell up, Swayze does an ass-shot and there’s a violent finale including a plummeting Polar Bear. Oh, and Sam Elliot turns up, playing… well, Sam Elliot.

Yeah, that’s your lot. For a much better plot summary, go to http://jabootu.net/?p=605
and read the exhaustive write-up there. I’ll just stick to some Burning Questions the flick raised.

**Why is Dalton known as a “cooler”? Is it just cooler to be a Cooler than a Head Bouncer?
**How much money were bars making in small redneck towns if they could afford to pay Dalton five gees in advance, plus US$500/night? In 1980-frickin’-9! Add in to account the three hundred dollars of broken furniture the bar racks up a night, and I’d have to assume they’re selling piss-warm Coors at eighty-five bucks a bottle just to break even.
**Does everyone in this film know Dalton? Sure, he’s a good bouncer, but people in other STATES seem to be in awe of him. I worked at a comedy bar for eighteen months, and didn’t know OUR bouncers’ name. (Other than “The Guy You Don’t Fuck With”.)
**I know stitching up your own knife wounds makes you look badass, but isn’t it frustratingly awkward to get the angle right?
**Are we getting old when a shot of a cassette player being used gets a round of cheering. At least it wasn’t in the 8-track era.
**Doesn’t that huge bouncer look a lot like wrestler Terry Funk? (Answer to my scribbled notes: Yes. It is wrestler Terry Funk. I would have recognised him quicker if he’d been bleeding from a self-inflicted forehead wound.)
**Did Terry Funks character remind anyone else of “Ogre” from Revenge of the Nerds?
**Shouldn’t the Good Old Blues Brothers Boys Band be playing behind the chicken wire cage?
**Can anything stop Jeff Healey from finishing a song once he’s started? (Answer: No. He even plays throughout an entire bar brawl scene without missing a note at one stage.)
**Is Jeff Healey such a good guitar player he can take his hands off the strings, play three chords and puts his hands back, or are they just overdubbing the fuck out of this film?
**If Dalton gets any more cool, calm and relaxed in the midst of this bar fight, is he just going to fall asleep?
**If you’re going to deal drugs to your punters, would it be a better idea to do it on your break like Shag the Customer Guy?
**Instead of paying the Gross Domestic Product of Angola to Dalton, wouldn’t it have made more sense for the bar owner to fire all his obviously useless bouncers and hire two guys who knew what they were meant to be doing?
**Do you think Over-Dressed Slutty Chick could become a plot element later? (And by “Plot Element” I mean “Flash Her Boobs”)
**Is that Bigfoot? Oh wait, no, it’s wearing overalls. Must be a farmer.
**Has “Celebrity Look-alike” become a Running theme? THE SECRET FOUR had a Baldwin-alike, now we have Phoebe Cates Lite as a barmaid.
**If you’re a well-toned, Zen-like bouncer, should your breakfast be a Marlboro Lite and a coffee?
**In fact, is seeing character smoke indoors in older flicks almost as jarring as seeing the Twin Towers in NYC-set movies?
**I’m sure the ladies in the crowd were happy to see it, but did we really need the lingering shot of Patricks rock-hard man-cheeks?
**Was the ass-shot a ‘make-up for all the gratuitous boob-and-muff-shots we’ve had in Marathons past?
**And if so, do we owe the ladies Mel Gibson in LETHAL WEPON for the movie that played right AFTER this one?
**”Be Nice” is the secret mantra of bouncers? I thought it was “Don’t Let the Boss See You Put the Boot In.”?
**Could Crucifix-Wearing Henchman look any gayer without wearing a pair of assless leather chaps?
**Is Not Phoebe Cates going to be the love interest, or just another minor character getting multiple orgasms simply by being in the same room as Dalton?
**Is there anyone that can make wearing a cravat look threatening, not ludicrous. Even when paired with a cool fedora?
**If you’re a villainous Bad Guy with a monster truck, wouldn’t you drive the monster truck around just to justify how much cash you spent on it? Personally, I’d take that thing to the corner dairy to get the milk in the morning.
**How the hell do you manage to renovate an entire bar in three days without any sign of the construction?
**And how did all these Yuppies hear about it so fast? The place should still be full of confused bikers pissing on the neon signs.
**In fact, how the hell does a dustball town like Jasper find enough Yuppies to not only fill the bar, but form a line outside? Did they bus them all down from another state?
**Did anyone else think the bar lost all its character once the chicken wire cage was removed?
**Is there some rule that one extra ALWAYS has to over-dance? I thought one guys arms were going to be launched into space.
**Could the head Bad Guy be LESS subtle about his evil-doing? Not unless he decided to stab a prostitute in the middle of Times Square at mid-day, really.
**Is there such a place as the Silververse? That’s the Joel Silver-run dimension where EVERYTHING has the ability to explode in a humongous fireball if you so much as glance at it. Amish buggies probably go ka-boom if you rear-end them in that place.
**Is this sex scene with the REAL love interest some weird rip on DIRTY DANCING? Or is Pat just acting to the beat of his own drummer right about now.
**Is driving your monster truck through a car dealership in front of 100 spectators a new low in “Unsubtle Villainy”?
**If you own enough explosives to destroy the forest moon of Endor, wouldn’t it be a better idea to blow up your enemy with them? Not his landlord?
**If your explosives can level half a house and yet not even singe the huge, beardy occupant of said house, should you hire a more competent explosive-setting Goon?
**Is Sam Elliot any less than brilliant in any role he plays? (All of which he plays in EXACTLY the same way, no matter who he’s playing or what era the film is set.)
**Has anyone else lost count of the number of fistfights in this flick? (And yet the body count is remarkably low until the last few minutes of the film.)
**Does inferring you’re going to buttrape your opponent in a fistfight count as a “Psychout” or just “Ruining the Mood”?
**In a film this filled with homoeroticism, should you tell Dalton that the only thing missing from your Trophy Room is “his ass”?
**Was I the only one who made the obvious “mounting his ass” joke?
**Are they seriously inferring the bad guy hunted himself a Polar Bear? What did he do, load his monster truck full of shotguns and head to the Zoo?
**In fact, has he shot EVERYTHING that walks the Earth? I swear to God there’s a Woolly Mammoth with an ass-full of buckshot in that room.
**Was Dalton just saved by the Flimsy Excuse Vigilantes?
**Is there such a thing as too much Jeff Healey in a film? (Answer: No.)
**Did I just spend 1,500 words dissecting the plot of ROADHOUSE? I’d like to say I have too much time on my hands, but it just ain’t true these days. I might finish this review in time for next years show. Just.

Good Guys Smoking!: At the breakfast table. Classy.
Sexism: Quite a bit, but only to the Downtrodden Slutty Chick. And the barmaids. And 90% of the women in the flick.
Sweaty People: Fistfights in the Missouri sun can get you a little damp, yeah.
Cool Hats: A variety of Redneck Haberdashery.
Betrayal: Not really, the Good/Evil line in this film is more like a four-lane Highway.
Cracking Dialogue: Unforgettable, if not cracking.
Horrific Leg Injuries: Lower leg damage is practically a plot point.

New Theme!

Mistreatment of the Differently Abled?: Slutty Chick does a striptease in front of Jeff Healey. He’s blind. That’s just mean.

CARDIO?: With all the biffo Dalton gets in, he’s got to be in shape.
DOUBLE-TAP?: To the throat, baby!
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: Better to check the back room. There’s probably someone boinking in there.

Skeeters’ Summary: All is forgiven for making my sister watch DIRTY DANCING 8,000 times, Mr. Swayze. Rest in Peace.

Previous 10