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November 29th, 2011

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

PART 10-A Night at the Panto

SUNDAY, 06:20-BLOOD

 

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!

INTERLUDE

SUNDAY, 07:30-ish-BREAKFAST!

 

Fooood!

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!

SUNDAY 08: 30-FAIR GAME

 

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!

SUNDAY, 10:100-EQUINOX

“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…

Ummm..

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.

FLYING RAPPIN’ JESUS FISHNIJA!

 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!

SUNDAY 11:30-MIAMI CONNECTION

 

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?

**RANDOM BIKIE GANG!

**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.

**NINJA ATTACK!

**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?

**THEME TUNE!

**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?)

**SHIRTLESS GUITAR SOLO!

**Now stop putting your guitar back on!

**FRIENDS! We’re FRIENDS! FRIENDS FOREVER! Did I mention we’re FRIENDS!

**Yay, the song is over. ENCORE!

**We faded out… is it over?

**Oh my God, she’s learning BASIC!

**10 PRINT WE’RE FRIENDS FOREVER

**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!

**NINJA RUN!

**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.

**BASS PLAYER FU!

**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!

**NIPPLE SHOT!

**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?

**TRAINING MONTAGE!

**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.

**GRAUITOUS UGLY BOOB SHOT!

**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!”

**HIGHEST-PITCHED SCREAM EVER!

**JEFFFFFF! JEFFFF! Jeffjeffjeffjeffjeff!

**Jeff.

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

**ARRRGHGHHHH!

**ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

**ARGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!**

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

**SHIRTLESS PISSED-OFF BASS PLAYER!

**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.

**FREEZE-FRAME!

**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

SUNDAY 13:20-REANIMATOR

 

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)

THE AFTERMATH

 

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.

Skeeter

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.

Skeeter

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

THE 2011 FATSO.CO.NZ 24-HOUR MOVIE MARATHON

 

V MIN.. Uh, wait.. FATSO MINUS 2 DAYS AND COUNTING

 

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.

V DAY!

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!

SATURDAY, 15:05-PRIME CUT

 

Cows?

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…

SATURDAY, 16:30-ELIMINATORS

 

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.

**DRAMATIC UNVEILING!

**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.

SATURDAY 18:25-ATTACK THE BLOCK

 

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!

SATURDAY, 20:30-CADDYSHACK

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.

Skeeter

November 2011

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