Sep

Rats
“Mutants of a nuclear disaster.”

1984 – Unrated – 97 Minutes – Blue Underground
Starring Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, Geretta Geretta, Massimo Vanni – Directed by Bruno Mattei (as Vincent Dawn)

I feel like rodents always get a bad rap, especially rats. They’re always seen as the filthy, diseased sewer dwelling creatures that infest and devour everything in sight, yet they are cute little animals that are pretty clean and actually quite smart. But, I suppose it’s easier to hate and fear something than it is to understand and love it, especially in horror films.

Rats not only take the focus of the 1984 Bruno Mattei film, a blend of The Road Warrior and Night of the Living Dead, but it takes the title as well. That’s how potent these furry little critters were. You could just slap their name right on your poster in big, bold font and instantly disgust your audience. It does have a subtitle, Night of Terror, but I would say it’s more along the lines of Night of the Misunderstood, Cute Animals. Probably not as titillating as the filmmakers wanted, but watch the picture and you will see what I mean.

Just a heads up, this is a film made in Italy in the early 80’s, so you’re gonna see a lot of animal cruelty.

It’s the not too distant future, an opening text crawl fills us in on what’s happening, where mankind is and how we got there:

rts_2“In the Christian year, 2015, the insensitivity of man finally triumphs and hundreds of atomic bombs devastate all five continents. Terrified by the slaughter and destruction the few survivors of the disaster seek refuge under the ground… From that moment begins the era that will come to be called “After the Bomb”, the period of the second human race… A century later several men, dissatisfied with the system imposed on them by the new humanity, choose to revolt and return to live on the surface of the Earth as their ancestors did… So, yet another human race begins, that of the new primitives… These two communities have no contact for a long period. The people still living below ground are sophisticated and despise the primitives, regarding them as savages… This story begins on the surface of the Earth in the year 255 A.B. (After the bomb)…”

Wow! Never mind some of the inaccuracies and punctuation errors in there, but that certainly is a lot of information and backstory in just the opening text. Of course, none of it really matters and the only thing you need to know is that it’s the post-apocalyptic future and people roam in gangs looking for food, which could have been established without the text, since that seemed to be the plot of every post-apocalyptic movie of the 80’s. But, nice to know they put all that thought into it, which is more than you can say for most of those films. I also love that “After the bomb” is put in parentheses at the end, like the beginning of that text crawl was so long ago and they don’t trust you to remember it.

As bopping pop/rock music plays (that I swear has been used in other Bruno Mattei films), a group of these “primitives” that look relatively well dressed, with outfits ranging from a leather biker uniform, goth, civil war and various military garbs, find an establishment to investigate. The leader of the biker gang, Kurt (basically he’s MacReady sans the silly hat), makes the decision that the group will search this hotel… or whatever it is… for some food and when finding some precooked pasta and sugar (both of which weren’t rotted), they dump it all over each other in a fit of happiness. A girl from the gang, Chocolate, gets covered in flour and mistaking racially insensitive for comedy she dances around saying, “Look at me, I’m white! I’m as white as all of you!” Seems like the most rational thing to do in a world where food is extremely scarce. During this odd celebration, they find a body that looks like it was chewed up and mutilated. They all scream and terror, staring at it, which is odd considering you think given their living situation, they have probably seen dozens of dead bodies just on the way there.

Let’s talk about this “gang” for a second. Aside from Kurt, they are all named after whatever characteristic they can visually be identified by. Like a person without any common sense would name random strangers in a crowd to keep track of who’s who. Duke is the rebellious one in like a civil war uniform, Video is called that because of his knowledge in computers, Lilith and Lucifer are supposed to be the goth ones and the most potentially insulting one of them all is Chocolate… because she is a black woman. I would almost say it’s racist, but I don’t think Bruno Mattei quite understands what being racially tolerant is, or being sensitive to one’s sexuality or religious beliefs. Check out any of his other flicks, especially Robowar to see what I mean.

rts_3Maybe this new sanctuary isn’t so safe after all. Time to split up and investigate the place finding more bodies and dozens and dozens of rats, which seem pretty harmless… for now. The real kicker here is among their findings during their search is a plant nursery with fresh vegetables and a water purifier, which is perfect for the hippie of the group, Noah. So we have clean water, fresh veggies and edible food. Not bad for just stumbling into a place and searching for ten minutes. Oh and there is also a giant functioning computer with an ominous, pre-recorded message. In any case, this sounds dangerous, so they burn the bodies just in case they are also in a ripoff of John Carpenter’s The Thing.

As the gang settles in for the night, masses of rats begin to gather around and I have to say, it’s quite cute! You know what isn’t cute? Watching a hairy dude in a ponytail named Lucifer non discreetly plow Lilith under a sleeping bag with the whole gang watching, who were apparently annoyed by it. So why did they let this happen until one of the gang members, Taurus, throws a boot at them? The answer doesn’t and wouldn’t matter, but Kurt tells them to go someplace else. The porking continues and even Lilith grows tired of this and tells Lucifer she needs a break. Since his manhood was questioned, he storms off and happens upon some liquor to get drunk and act like a total buffoon.

With all these characters being alone and falling asleep, now is a perfect time for the rats to strike! They start coming through the water purification system and contaminating that and attacking Noah. Lucifer gets himself eaten, butt first, which is actually quite fitting for him and Lilith is devoured in her sleeping bag. As she screams, she wakes up the rest of the group who arm themselves with flamethrowers and shotguns and run off to investigate. After they find Lilith’s body, with a rat that climbs out of her mouth, Noah jumps from around from the corner, half eaten and screaming to high heaven. Kurt roasts the hippie to spare him or to torture him, since the poor guy runs around on fire until Duke, the rebel of the group, pumps a shotgun round into him. Good to know they look out for one another.

This place seems to be more trouble than it’s worth, so time to blow this popsicle stand! Well, they would except the rats have sabotaged their bikes! Yes, the rats knew that this was their only means of escape and have prevented them from leaving! This is all (somehow) Kurt’s fault… at least according to Duke, who now begins the rivalry shift in the movie. Duke challenges Kurt’s authority, but it’s nothing more than a weak pissing contest, as the group decides to do what they did in Night of the Living Dead and board themselves inside and barricade the place up nice and tight. Well, except for the one HUGE open window that one of girls, Diana, happens to be standing under as a stage hand dumps a box of rats all over her, who look scared and confused as she shrieks to the point of making your ears bleed. Chocolate informs everyone that without clean water for her wounds, Diana could die from infection. I don’t know how Chocolate knows that for sure, but it’s the closest thing we have to making this plot move along, so off to the basement to get to that purifier!

Kurt along with the rest of the men, minus Duke who stays behind to watch things, head down into the basement to get some water, however, the purifier is flooded with rats and Kurt’s flamethrower jams! To make matters worse, Duke refuses to open the door, just as dozens of rubber rats on a treadmill charge them, until Chocolate forces Duke to open the door, resulting in… well nothing really. Kurt just threatens him and kicks him in the nards, but then they all just start looking for a means to escape or shelter. I dunno, sometimes with all the stupid going on, it can be hard to keep track. Tensions run high as the group fights, er… scream and tip toe around rats and Duke takes one of the girl hostage and demands control of the group! Great, just what we needed at a time like this! Luckily, the idiot blows himself up with a grenade trying to blow up rats. Next time I have a rodent problem, I think I will try this method. Seems effective.

rts_4With Duke no longer causing any problems, the remaining members of the gang can focus on what they were originally doing: Running around and screaming while getting rats dumped on them, as the rats break down a barricaded door. Yes, rats manage to beat down an enforced door. Who knew? The gang dwindles down one at a time, just as mysterious men in gas masks and yellow hazmat suits appear and fumigate the streets. Who are they and what do they want? The answer will simply shock you… with laughter! Every minute of this film has boiled down to one of the most outlandish, preposterous ending of all time, because why the hell not?!

In the age when Italy was ripping off zombie movies left and right, at least this one substituted zombies with rats and put it in a post apocalyptic setting. Sure, most of the time the characters were just trudging around, doing stupid things because the script called for it or shrieking at the top of their lungs nonstop to the point where I wanted to punch the closest living thing to me, but Ratsdoes have a few things going for it. Like… um, give me a second to think of one… oh! Like when rats literally explode out of a guys stomach like an air cannon! That was awesome. Oh and before that, he stands up like a zombie, so all I could picture was all the rats inside him controlling him like a giant robot. Aside from that, the rats just nibble at people, so don’t expect your average Bruno Mattei gorefest. Speaking of the rats themselves, you may have noticed at some point that at times they look an awful lot like painted guinea pigs. Or that’s the rumor according to Bruno. I’m going to assume (if it were true) because painting guinea pigs was cheaper than buying rats, but who knows. All I know is I feel bad for the poor critters getting kicked around.

For a Bruno Mattei film, this one is pretty comprehensible instead of his usual nearly idiotic, impossible to follow films, but it still has an ensemble of some of the dumbest characters cinema has to offer. Everything uttered out of their stupid suck holes, every lame brain decision they make… why? Why would a person realistically or rationally do that? They wouldn’t. But that’s a Mattei flick for you. If you can’t write something to make sense, just make your characters dumber than a box of off brand vanilla wafers.

And you know, for the life of me, I can’t believe I haven’t noticed before, but after hearing this soundtrack I’m fairly certain Bruno Mattei didn’t know how to use the proper music at the right moments. Well, for the most part. The film does have a moody synth track that plays well and is kinda creepy, but that bopping drum and keyboard tune is out of place every time.

However, it’s all worth it to see that ending. I know you can power through all the stupid. You can watch these nimrods make the most nonsensical decisions and say the dumbest things. I promise you it will pay off. Hell I admit it. I like this movie a whole lot.

Rats
Well, I can at least say this; it’s one of Bruno Mattei’s more watchable films. So, there’s that. That’s a good thing.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • In the years 2000!
  • The cutest killer creatures of all time!
  • Step forward and be named by your stereotype.
  • Sleeping bag salsa!
  • Conveyer belt o’ rats.
  • To roast ‘em or walk right through ‘em? That is the question.
  • Guinea pigs or rats?
  • That ending though…
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Mostly devoured flesh and a geyser of gut rats!

5

blood

BREASTS

Lilith goes full frontal and Lucifer shows off his lil’ devil.

2

beast

BEASTS

They are so cute!

4.3 OVERALL
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Watch the entire movie… in Italian!

trailers

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Sep

Sonno Profondo
“You wish you’d never woken up.”

2013 – Not Rated – 67 Minutes – Brink Vision
Starring Luciano Onetti, Daiana Garcia, Silvia Duhalde – Directed by Luciano Onetti

There seems to be a small resurgence of the giallo films lately, which in my book is a good thing. In between the dozens of found footage and superhero movies, it’s always nice to see something a little different. This is where Sonno Profondo comes in. When I heard about this flick and saw the trailer, I was pretty excited. I needed to get my hands on this movie and let me tell you… it was quite the experience. It wasn’t what I expected or at the time may not have seemed to be what I wanted and I mean that in the best way possible. I won’t go too much into detail in this review, because any little detail could ruin the fun or surprise the film has to offer, so let me see if I can tell you enough to get you interested.

sp_2The sights and sounds are quite an experience right from the start. An almost rustic, hyper piano/jazz mix gets you on your toes, which is fitting for all the oversaturated colors, as we see from a killer’s point of view (and of course he is wearing black leather gloves), obsessing over some photos of a woman that he is readying to kill and we are shortly introduced to through a rather erotic masturbation scene. It wouldn’t be a giallo without some erotic sex appeal. At least she’s going out with a bang as she is brutally murdered. Shortly after her butchering, the killer receives an anonymous phone call… seems someone knows what he did and the person on the other line is threatening to kill them! A killer that is going to kill the killer… you don’t see that too often and it does offer a good cat and mouse chase later at a hospital once the killer in the black leather gloves receives some photos of his crime and a key to a locker at said hospital. What secrets does this locker hold or is it merely a decoy? We soon find out once another gloved killer, this time with vinyl medical gloves, appears and attempts to murder the… murderer.

After barely escaping, the black gloved killer mixes a mean cocktail of blood, whiskey and morphine pills as an attempt to commit suicide? Maybe? I dunno. Shortly, flashbacks play out, revealing the connections between the victim, the killer and the other killer and the childhood drama that plagues them. You’ll keep guessing to that rocking soundtrack until their is resolution.

sp_3Very, very rarely does the flick switch outside of one of the killer’s POV, nor are the killers seen without gloves on. I would say this is a parody, but it’s not played that way and it works in favor of the narrative. At first I thought it was silly, even laughed to myself that we never switched out of their POV or saw them without gloves, but as the movie went on, I couldn’t imagine it working without doing that. I can’t stress enough how important all the visuals are in the movie, between the lighting, the oversaturated colors and so on.

Normally, I’m not one for all the fake dirt and scratches film look that seems to present on every low budget film since Grindhouse came out in 2007, but it not only works here, it also feels like it’s absolutely necessary to the look of the film and the look is very important to a giallo. Everything here is presented in oversaturated, bright and vibrant colors, intentionally giving the film a larger, louder than life quality, almost a comic book like quality, as greens, yellows and reds pop right off the screen. Every element in the movie, colors, lighting, the score (by the way, one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a film), everything is important and absolutely crucial to the overall picture. If one of these things were done wrong, I don’t think the film would have worked. I feel like I am going in circles here, but Sonno Profondo is a true treat to see and hear. Everything mixes together so perfectly.

sp_4Of course, in true giallo form, there is some weird imagery and creepy dolls hanging about (that for some reason are full of blood). Come to think of it, the whole look of the film is very 70’s, from the furniture, the types of telephones they use, house decours, wallpaper and cars they drive. I’m no expert, but I would go out on a limb to say that this is about as authentic as it can get, which is impressive considering this is a low budget, indie film. Or maybe Italy still looks like the 1970’s.

However, this is the kind of film your average movie goer isn’t going to enjoy. I would normally say a short runtime that barely runs over an hour could hurt a film, but Sonno Profondo tells its story in this time and doesn’t overstay its welcome. There isn’t much in the way of a narrative and I could see how some would find that the majority of the film is from POV (like the recent remake of Maniac), it may turn off some. It’s not loaded with nudity or gore, but this film wasn’t made for them. Hell, it may not have even been made for giallo fans, but you can say for sure it was made for director Luciano Onetti himself and I think that’s what a filmmaker should set out to do: Make the film YOU would want to see.

Sonno Profondo isn’t a spoof or an homage to the giallo genre… it is a giallo film. Well, you could consider it an homage, but I would go one step further. It’s not just the look or the tone that make it a giallo film, it’s the story (or maybe a lack of) and how the whole thing is shrouded in a mystery that will leave you guessing literally until the last minute and when everything is tied up at the end and revealed and doing so without hardly any dialogue, there is a great feeling, genuine joy, from solving the mystery and excitement to see everything come full circle.

Sonno Profondo
Perhaps I’m leaving out a lot of plot or not saying enough, but believe me when I say that Sonno Profondo is something that you must see to experience. It will all make sense and you may enjoy this little throwback to the great Italian murder mysteries.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Mom always said masturbation will kill ya.
  • Whose eyes are we looking through?
  • To kill a killer.
  • Morphine cocktail.
  • Raising kids can be hard.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Slashes, gashes and stabs spurting some thick, bright red blood.

4

blood

BREASTS

No nudity, but the film throws in some erotic sex appeal.

8

beast

BEASTS

Everyone in this film is a killer or a victim.

5.3 OVERALL
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Sep

It’s 1991, director Sam Raimi now has the approval for a third movie in The Evil Dead series. So how does he capitalize on the cult success of the previous two films? Change the name to Army of Darkness and make it a horror-comedy. Because that’s worked out for so many franchises before it! See any of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, if you don’t know what I mean. Now does that mean it’s a bad movie? No, absolutely not. This movie brought a lot of folks into the fold of The Chin, Sam Raimi, and the fact that practical effects and good acting will always beat out CGI.
The movie starts out with Bruce Campbell as Ash narrating his current situation. There’s really no need for the narration, as it’s pretty apparent what’s going on. However, Bruce Campbell narrating anything is epic. We find out a little back story and why Ash is in the situation he’s in, flashback style, though the cuts and bruises he receives later in the movie are on his face. That’s why the right side of his face is filmed in this scene, to hide actual cuts and bruises sustained during filming. Just like the last movie, Evil Dead 2, we get a quick recap with some scenes redone to save on time. Ash is sucked into the vortex and now we begin our medieval escapade.
Through that awesome narration we now know that the movie takes place in 1200 AD and our hero has landed smack dab in the middle of not only a war, but a cursed land befouled by the evil that came from the book. Talk about bad luck. Some camera play and exposition, we come to the first real action of the movie: Ash versus the Pit Witch (and her bloated friend). Even up to this point, with lines such as “Well hello, Mister Fancypants!” to his fellow captor Henry the Red, who leads the other guys, this could still work as a horror movie. However, the next particular scene, is where we get the tone for the rest of the film.
If you never knew that the director was a fan of The Three Stooges, you will, now. Ash’s fight with the Pit Witch, while somewhat violent, is packed with goofy angles, over the top screams, and comedic timing. Escaping said pit Ash proceeds to establish himself as the alpha dog amongst these people, giving us one of his most quoted lines ever. “This is my…BOOMSTICK!” as well as some helpful information about what said boomstick is made of, where it’s made, and how much it retails for. Say it with me, kids, “Shop smart. Shop S-Mart! Ya got that?!?” Why do I keep involving children saying lines from horror movies in my reviews?
After Ash gets the only rest and relaxation he’s gotten in the last 72 hours interrupted by a deadite witch and the plot, we now get some classic Raimi montage footage. And let’s add in a ‘Groovy.’ for good measure. With the magic words ‘Klatu verata nictu’ (See The Day The Earth Stood Still) in hand Ash begins his quest for the book, and a stuntman that can pull of that chin. A chase scene and a really wide camera shot later we come to what might be either the most hilarious or most disturbing scenes the dream team has ever put to celluloid. And they filmed a woman biting her own hand off, mind you.
Our hero finds himself in familiar surroundings as he locks himself inside a windmill in the woods to hide from the evil chasing him. Because it worked so well the last time he barricaded himself in a wood shack in the woods with evil chasing him. However, I’m pretty sure if some looming force of darkness was on my heels making that howling sound I’d suddenly develop the ability to swim up a mountain side. A smashed mirror leads us to some Stooges type comedy and miniature cannibalism. Which results in an eyeball poking through the flesh on Ash’s shoulder, complete with a muffled voice to let us know it’s alive. Told you it was disturbing. But it doesn’t stop there, folks, oh no.
The thing begins to grow. First into another head, then into another person from the waist up, then into another person entirely. And here, about the half way mark of the movie, we have our antagonist. Seems the writing team figured they couldn’t have a movie with a hero and no villain. More disturbing imagery! Ash shoots then dismembers his evil twin, in one of the darkest Raimi montages, ever, and proceeds to bury the remains, and the doubt that we’ll never see that character again. After receiving a warning about the book he quests for, The Chin presses on.
Can’t have a medieval movie without a medieval graveyard filled with gothic, medieval tombstones. Ash finds the book, and a twist, to both lengthen the movie and torture Bruce Campbell with special effects makeup. Right before getting the book, however, Ash channels every person that’s ever had to remember something, ever. The humor in this scene is simple, and in that, hilarious. My favorite line being the final one when Ash decides a cough with an ‘N’ sound in front of it would suffice for ancient, evil magic. Again. Ash not so big in the brains department.
The equivalent of ‘Password not accepted’ turns the graveyard into a fireworks factory and awakens the dead, giving us another chance to witness another slapstick tribute to the stooges. We see Evil Ash resurrected, and soon afterwards, his army of the dead. Or darkness, you know, given the movie title and all. But all is not well when The Chin returns and delivers the news that he may have upset some folks back in the medieval graveyard. I couldn’t help one more ‘medieval’, sorry. Things happen! The love interest is taken away! Ash vows to stand and fight! Enter the final scenes!
The men of the castle send word to Henry the Red, the big brute earlier in the movie, that they need help. They also take part in a training montage, because reasons. Ash, being from the future and all, arms them with gunpowder. The formula which he found in a physics book which just happened to be in his trunk. For extra points try to find the issue of Fangoria. When all is said and done we enter what has to be some of the most epic battle scenes since Clash of the Titans. Or Jason and the Argonauts. Depends on your preference.
The army of the dead attack and go after the book! The men at the castle try to defend! Things aren’t going so well for our heroes, who seem to be dropping like flies. Now we see the Ashmobile! The classic that has been made over to be a steam powered (I’m guessing) contraption of death. The Chin meets up with former love interest now turned deadite, which he ends up tossing over the side of a wall like yesterday’s leftovers. And now, an exercise in duality. Evil Ash and Ash face off to fight for the book and the fate of all involved.
I will, once again, skip the ending because I don’t believe in spoilers. So let’s wrap up. This movie set a tone that Sam Raimi would reuse in other movies like Darkman and even further up like Spider-Man. It’s filled with flaws and production fails, try to count the air-rams badly hidden behind scenery, and some big plot holes. And where I’d usually pick apart a movie for them, this time I’m able to overlook them. Not because of fanboy-ism, okay, partly because of fanboy-ism, but mainly because the movie is just plain fun! Big sets, big action, big actor, and big one liners all add up for a horror comedy that is still just as fun today.

Thanks for reading, folks! Also check out the alternate ending and the extended windmill scene in various rereleases of the movie. So I have a question for all our loyal readers: Should I review the reboot of the series? Head to our Facebook or Twitter page to vote! Thanks again, folks. Stay tuned!

roadside attractions

  • The chin 3.0?
  • Hail to the King?
  • Wires and air-rams Galore
  • ?Ash’s Changing Hair Lengths
  • ?Xena’s war cry
  • ?Evil Ash Muppet
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

A lot of action, not a lot of gore.

3

blood

BREASTS

One full pair and a couple covered with hair. Not much to howl about.

10

beast

BEASTS

An entire army of the dead. Nuff said.

9.2 OVERALL
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Sep

posted by Blake | September 15, 2014 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Bad movie, Reviews by Blake

Recent soul-less reboots like Robocop and Total Recall have given me a very jaundiced eye towards the concept, so news that Mad Max is getting the Hollywood Reboot treatment fills me with fear and loathing even with the original director at the helm.  There is, however, one great post-apocalyptic film which I am sure will be forever safe from the grubby hands of studios  lacking originality: Peter George’s 1987 movie Surf Nazis Must Die, an abandoned child from the Troma family of fun.

The main plot centers around Murder and Revenge, while a subplot forms around a surf-gang leader’s desire for World Domination…or at least dominating the beaches of SoCal.  The majority of beach scenes were shot in Long Beach or Hamilton Beach, both being well-known SoCal surf meccas.

Interspersed throughout the film are six or seven different montages showing the Surf Nazis and other surf-gangs, well, surfing.  In the great tradition of horrid 60s surf films like Gidget and    How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, the film spends quite a bit of filler time showing fuzzy clips of anonymous, semi-pro surfers dressed in character’s costumes and shooting tubes.  Unlike the 60s drech, these dudes occasionally give the Nazi salute as they ride the nose and can be seen deliberately nudging other surfers off their boards—an act apparently more evil than theft and assault of beachgoers, judging by the reactions of those so treated.  Oddly, these montages were all shot on the north shore of Oahu rather than California.

The film is set “sometime in the near future,” when the California coastline has supposedly been devastated by the Big One, an earthquake that registered R8.0+ and caused at least 80,000 casualties while displacing most of the population.  In the aftermath of this disaster, the beaches south of Los Angeles have been overrun with anarchy, with police presence at zero and competing surf-gangs ruling the sands and victimizing citizens (think Beach Blanket Bingo meets A Clockwork Orange).  A note on the gangs: they definitely come from the Warriors school of cinematic gang-depiction, with their own themes, dorkey outfits, and names (Samurai Surfers, Pipeliners, Designer Waves, etc.; at least none of them are in baseball jerseys).  What makes them seem less like bangers and even more like “Pirate” extras from Danger Island is that they aren’t particularly evil or threatening; all of the gangs, including the eponymous Surf Nazis, spend most of their time either surfing, sleeping, drinking beer, or engaging in petty theft.  You would expect post-apocalyptic gangs modeling themselves on the Third Reich to be into some seriously evil stuff, but until the gang-war starts stealing cameras and threatening a pawn-shop owner are as nasty as they get.

Other than some footage taken in industrial storage yards and empty lots and some Before and After scenes of a burning building, there is little evidence of ruin; there is no real feel in the film that the characters are walking through a collapsed. There is no explanation for the complete absence of any law-enforcement or military personnel, or any type of civil infrastructure.  There are all manner of stores still open, including both surf- and pawn-shops, and for a chaotic war zone there seems to be quite a few elderly, middle-class suburbanites, pier-fisherman and other normal L.A. types wandering the beaches, complete with tourist cameras and 80s boomboxes.

One displaced family is Eleanor Washington and her son Leroy, whose home was destroyed outright.  Leroy moves Mama to a comfortable, if restrictive, retirement home and heads off to his work as a successful young oil industry worker (which we know because he wears a suit, a hardhat labeled “Chief,” and spends a good minute of film time wandering around a working pumpjack, looking confused).  Apparently, besides shops and retirement homes the Big One left the power grid and the LA-area oil industry intact, because between the pumpjack, a working offshore platform, and a functioning refinery used in the last scene, SoCal’s oil production still seems to be going strong.

In the main subplot one particular gang, the Surf Nazis, decides to try for world conqeust by either uniting or wiping out the rival gangs and securing the best surfing beaches for themselves; because, you know, like, taking over Hamilton Beach and its gnarly grinders is kinda like invading Poland and annexing the Sudetenland, right?  I mean, it’s just Tube City, dude, and Polski don’t surf.

The gang’s leader, “Adolf,” looks more like Freddie Mercury than the Fuhrer and is borderline batshit to boot.  He is supported and semi-dominated by Eva (played by 80s B-queen Dawn Wildsmith), who is as nutcase as Adolf but considerably more able, and backed by enforcers named Hook (guess what he has for a hand…), Brutus, and the intelligent but twisted Mengele, who is played by veteran B-actor, director, and punk musician Michael Sonye.  Numerous hangers-on include a pathetic, teenaged wannabe named Smeg and a gaggle of tweens who serve as an unorganized Hitlerjugend of petty thieves and pickpockets.

Adolf calls a conference between the gangs and manages to bully them into following his nominal lead.  They will pay some tribute to the Surf Nazis and respect the boundaries of each others’ beaches, allowing Adolf and his followers to focus their energies on victimizing the populace, drinking beer, and surfing.

One day, one of the little Hitlerjugend tries to snatch a purse from an elderly woman on the shoreline, only to be foiled by Leroy Washington out for a jog at the beach.  Adolf witnesses the event and decides to take revenge, ordering Hook to deal with him.  Hook emasculates Washington with his custom-edged hook, and the next scenes show Mama Washington ID’ing the body and making “arrangements,” then agonizing in a chapel about God’s Will.  Doing a little self-investigating at the shoreline, Mama overhears Smeg bragging about the killing to a couple of beach-bimbos; she pressures him into coughing up the identities and details of the Surf Nazis and, presumably, their rivalries with the other surf-gangs.

Having nothing left to lose, Big Mama vows revenge and initiates a “Final Solution” of her own.  She goes to a pawn-shop, telling the owner, “I wanna buy a gun…but I’m more interested in something that’ll shoot the head off a honky at 20 paces.”  She ends up leaving with a Walther P-38 (an ironic touch on the director’s part as the 9mm P-38 was the primary sidearm of the Third Reich), a box of ammo, and a grenade.  She also begins a series of covert actions which turn the surf-gangs on each other, shattering the fragile truce between them and leading to the deaths of all rival gangs and the loss in battle of Brutus.

When the dust settles after the Beach of Long Knives, the surviving Surf Nazis retire to their graffiti-enhanced bunker to rest and recover; but Big Mama has other plans.  In the light of early dawn, Mama rolls a grenade down into the bunker which comes to rest right next to Hook’s soon-to-be-non-existent head.  The grenade detonates and, in another ironic twist by the director, Adolf and Eva become the ones who survive the Final Bunker Scene; Hook and Mengele are now riding the tails of Hell-bound Bings.  Laughing in maniacal triumph, Mama roars off on a motorcycle, only to be pursued by Adolf and Eva in the gang’s shark-themed van.

After a chase, Mama manages to corner them in the part-yard of an oil refinery, getting off some shots before they escape in a very bad directorial cut.  Suddenly, the fleeing pair are stealing the boards of two hapless surfers and paddling into the bay.  Mama uses her 9mm charms to convince a fisherman to follow them in his powerboat.  After a pass or two, the boat runs directly over Eva, demolishing her board and leaving her severed head bobbing amongst the debris.  On the next pass, Adolf kills the boat’s owner with a throwing knife, leaving Mama to struggle with the controls.  Just as she regains control, Adolf appears over the fantail and tries to stab her; Mama is aware of him, however, and shoves the barrel of the Walther down Adolf’s throat, gagging him.  Just before she squeezes the trigger, she delivers one of the best B-grade, pre-mortem one-liners ever: “Taste some of  Mama’s home cooking, Adolf!” She blows out the back of his head and his corpse goes overboard as she laughs.

Final scene: Mama rides off on her motorcycle, laughing.  The End.

While this film suffers from bad photography, poor special effects, and a badly-written script, it does have some good points: a dark sense of humor; some of the old ultraviolence (and speaking of which, Hook is used as a vehicle for a few visual references to Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange); rather interesting performances by Sonye and Wildsmith (I said “interesting,” not “good”); a decent helping of 80s surf lingo, and a far better soundtrack than I would have expected.  While it is not in the league of Troma’s greatest triumph, The Toxic Avenger, it is still well-worth the time invested; if you’re in the mood for some sand and surf, it sure as hell beats watching Frankie and Annette.

.

roadside attractions

  • Breasts, ‘boards, and beer
  • Pistol Packin’ Mama
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Mengele licks the blood of a rival off his knife-blade

5

blood

BREASTS

Covered and uncovered, including Wildsmith’s

0

beast

BEASTS

Not even a dead jellyfish in the shore-break

3.5 OVERALL
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Sep

posted by The Goon | September 9, 2014 | Drama, Horror movies, New Releases, Reviews by the Goon, Suspense, modern horror, screeners

Lucky Bastard
“This will not end well.”

2014 – NC 17 – 94 Minutes – Revolver Entertainment
Starring Betsy Rue, Don McManus, Jay Paulson – Directed by Robert Nathan

Porn. That’s really all you need to say and you have anyone’s attention. I always found it strange that it’s the one thing we all watch, yet are ashamed to admit that we do… not that I watch it. People always seem to talk about how great it would be to work in porn and have sex all day, but let me tell you… you ever eat nothing but ice cream all day, then about halfway through the day, you think to yourself, “Man, I’ve eaten nothing but ice cream today. I’m kinda sick of it.” I imagine that’s what that line of work is like. At some point, getting it from behind must be tiring and you just want to go home and play some Super Nintendo. I guess that’s true with any job though.

But what if things get really out of hand? You know that point where things become too much to handle and the perks and pay don’t seem worth it anymore? And that’s putting it lightly. That’s kinda what Lucky Bastard is about. Things start off normal, get weird, you try to laugh it off, but then it comes back to bite you in the butt. Lucky Bastard explores the worst case scenario possible for adult film stars seeking out to do a service for one lucky fan. It does so through the ever increasing tiresome found footage genre, but to its credit its unique in the sense that nobody has done a found footage porn-esque horror film before, which is surprising, because most pornos play out like really really bad found footage movies.

lb_2Meet Ashley Saint played by Betsy Rue, who you may remember got fully nude for the remake of My Bloody Valentine. I remember it so much so, I have an autographed picture of that on my wall. Through the eyes of a camera (like the whole film, so I don’t know why I wrote that), two men who have lured a young woman, Casey, and are raping her, but stop their assault to welcome Ashley into their home to sign some papers (hey, even porn has to be legit) when she hears the cries of Casey in the back. Ashley snaps into action and stomps menacingly through the house, fending the captors off with verbal suggestion. Upon finding Casey and untying her, one of the men springs up and holds Ashley down and begins to rape her when she jokingly says… and I quote, “That’s my butthole!” Laughter erupts and the director, Mike, of this faux-rape movie steps out and introduces our star as everyone gets all chummy.

So, rape porn is a thing people enjoy?

To the movie’s credibility, you also get to see what it is like behind the scenes of a porno. Like driving a family sized SUV with Cheetos on the floor. Yeah, people tend to forget that even adult film stars have families… or feelings.

Anyway, Mike is actually quite understanding and seems to care about his actors, opposite of how you usually see porn producers portrayed in film. Mike also runs a website of the same name, Lucky Bastard. The title is makes sense, as fans submit videos of why they should get to be the lucky bastard to have sex with one of the adult film industry’s hottest ladies on film. The winner happens to be awkward and dweeby Dave, but something doesn’t seem quite right with him. He seems like a can short of a six pack, like he’s not playing with a full deck, like he’s lost his marbles.

lb_3What I’m trying to say is that Dave is crazy.

Right away, he begins giving Ashley the heebie jeebies as she tries to have a conversation with him, until he reveals too much detail about her personal life and she threatens to leave the production. Dave apologizes and the gig is back on, relocating to a home that has been fit with a dozen security cameras since it was once used in a reality TV show. Quite a convenient plot device; a house with multiple angles. Anyhow, it doesn’t take long for Dave to humiliate himself again and everyone in the cast and crew has a good laugh at him and his temper tantrum that follows. Well even if they didn’t get to shoot the horizontal mambo, they have some good bloopers to show. After all, part of intent of the site is to humiliate these “lucky” bastards. Demanding the tapes, Mike kicks him out and has one of his assistants drive him back into town… only they don’t make it. Dave smashes his head in with a rock and heads back to house with a bat, then gaining a firearm, and now everyone is going not going to be so lucky.

lb_4This one is a bit of a slow burn, taking it’s time to set up in the first act, getting down to business in the second and Dave finally kicks it into full sociopath mode in the last act. At times, the film feels like it’s dragging its feet, but quickly recovers from fumbling by some well done character development. Betsy Rue is quite good in this role, showing that she can be a fantastic lead. You really get the feeling that her character is burnt out from the adult film industry, but it pays well and she has a family to take care of. She mentions an abusive spouse in her past and she had to take control and you see as she relives those emotions through the movie. Don McManus who plays Mike also shows all the different layers he has, as at first you think he’s a good guy, then you see what a manipulative s.o.b. he is, so when he gets his comeuppance… and does he get it (I don’t want to ruin it for you, but it does involve something being inserted into his anus)… you still feel sorry for the torture the guy goes through. Even though I have to say, at times it’s hard to tell if he’s being manipulative or genuinely concerned for Ashley’s feelings. Well played, sir. Dave, on the other hand, I didn’t feel for. He was just weird and creepy throughout the film and not very menacing, even when he is going crazy. I don’t fault the actor, I just felt he was a weak character. I feel like a gust of wind could have knocked this guy the hell over and took his lunch money.

Being somewhat of a horror film, it manages to pull off some tension, but what it inevitably builds up to is a moment you know is going to happen, given away by the opening segment, which I’m beginning to notice is popular with these found footage movies. There isn’t much in the way of blood either, aside from some arterial spray, so if you’re looking look for a blood and guts spectacle, you are looking in the wrong place. However, if you are here for the T and A, then you have come to the right place. And that’s not just restricted to the ladies! In case you didn’t notice, this is an NC-17 film, so why it may not be real sex, it certainly pulls more thrusts (pun intended) and will fill your speaking with that familiar wet packing sound you’ve come to love.

Lucky Bastard
It’s understandably earned its rating and overall, Lucky Bastard is an enjoyable littler thriller. Although doing nothing new with the found footage genre, it doesn’t repeat all those tired jump scares and plot devices they love so much, not that you would be watching this to see if it reinvents the genre or something. So while the film may do a good job keeping your interest “peaked” when it’s being sexy, you may find that underperforms when it comes to the horror aspect. You see what I did there? Little sexual innuendos? I bet I’m the first person to make those kind of references when reviewing this film.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Betsy Rue. Naked. That’s all you need.
  • Sex, Cheetos & Videotape.
  • Softball champ.
  • Sticking it where the sun don’t shine.
  • Premature humiliation.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Everything happens off screen or too quick, but the film doesn’t focus on gore.

9

blood

BREASTS

All actors and actresses are required to be naked when in the presence of this movie.

4

beast

BEASTS

Dave is the kind of guy who gets picked on by kids when he walks by schools.

5.6 OVERALL
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