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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!

SATURDAY, 22:10-BLACK VENGEANCE

 

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!

SATURDAY, 23:50-DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

 

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.”

**FLASHBACK!

**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!

**”I FUCKING LOVE MERRY-GO-ROUNDS! WHEEEEE!”

**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.

**RANDOM REACTION SHOT!

**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?

**RANDOM REACTION SHOT!

**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.

**DRINK YOUR FUCKING COCKTAIL, ASSHOLE!

**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?

**SAY SOMETHING!

**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.

**KITTEN!

**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.

**THUNDERSTORM!

**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!

**Nearly!

**NEARLY!

**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.)

**GIANT KITTY –KILLER STUNT BUMP!

**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!

SUNDAY, 03:00-TERROR!

 

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.

SUNDAY 04:45-DIDN’T YOU HEAR…?

 

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

        on

a journey in his

                          mind

 

Topless sorority pledge

     In his

                    Room.

Public humiliation

  Study or fantasy?

 

dream sequence

                        /existential crisis

                                                 /out-of-body experience

                                                                                    /fuck knows what.

 This dream

       Is

FIFTY MINUTES long!

 

(IT’S HAPPY BIRTHDAY WORLD DAY! IT’S HAPPY BIRTHDAY WORLD DAY! IT’S HAPPY BIRTHDAY WORD DAY!)

 

       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…?

 

Fin

 

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?

Chickens!

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.

 

Whoa.

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Skeeter

November 2011

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