Archive for the 'B-movies' Category

Oct

If the title doesn’t capture your attention, then something is wrong with your neural net processor (that’s brain for you laymen). Presented totally uncut, The Dorm That Dripped Blood (a play on the title The Room That Dripped Blood, perhaps?) at the surface appears as a copycat slasher, mostly emulating Friday the 13th and Halloween, but it has more substance than that. The relationship between the characters is well developed, the atmosphere is dark and moody like a fall evening, the score sounds like a small orchestra (which sounds overplayed and you kinda wish they went for a simple keyboard/synthesizer score to play the scenes for subtly) and the special effects are great and gory!

Believe it or not, this movie is set during the Christmas season, although you could easily miss that since there is no snow or holiday music, two things that are associated with that time of year. You may think that is irrelevant to the plot, but what better way to clear out a college campus, all but a few students that are staying to clear out a dorm before demolition, a very unfortunate situation… and they haven’t even realized they are being stalked by a killer!

Dorms that dripped bloodThe movie opens right up with someone being chased and murdered, which is a way to catch your attention, but then we jump into a party with Joanne, who is growing distant from her boyfriend Tim. Our heroine Joanne is joined by her friends, all playing a somewhat stereotyped role to the slasher genre. You have young, naïve Debbie who is played Daphne Zuniga (who would later go on to be in Spaceballs as the Princess), Bryan the possible love interest, Craig the wise guy and Patty the frightened one. I know in any other movie, you would be able to guess their roles and what order they die or who lives, but The Dorm That Drips Blood does something a little different with them.

The caretaker Bill is also present, but doesn’t really interact with the group of kids. Only to inform them that one of his drills is missing… hmm… Also stalking around the campus is local weirdo John Hemmit who looks like he should be searching the dumpsters for a comb instead of garbage. Speaking of garbage, Joanne befriends Bobby Lee Tremble, a local salesman buying tables from the college and also hitting on Joanne. It doesn’t matter that Bobby Lee is tied to another woman, another woman that we only see in a scene later on just so we can get the obligatory breast shot, he is all about seeing Joanne again.

The film paces its kills a good pace. Not too early, not too late. Almost like we are be treated to a three course meal. Rather than wait until the end of the film to cross off its characters, The Dorm That Dripped Blood not only starts with a tame kill, but shortly after the beginning, one of our characters parents are brutally murdered by a nail bat and strangulation and then proceeds to run over their child’s head! And yes, you will see the aftermath of it. Lesson learned, never help out your friends at a college when everyone else has gone home. The goriest and best looking kill by far is when one of the characters gets a power drill (Oh hey, that’s where that went!) to the back of their head. You see the drill crack and rip apart the back of their skull and spray blood all over the room. Another one of the cast is boiled alive and another is hacked to pieces. It’s a movie that goes for intense, brutal kills that are played out rather than quick cuts shying away from the violence, like most slashers at the time.

The Dorm that dripped bloodThe film will also plays with the ‘who done it’ aspect, but does it subtly, so you keep guessing, but you aren’t overwhelmed by the mystery. I honestly kept guessing and changing my guess. Was it Tim? He’s seems angry enough. Maybe it’s Bryan. He has the hots for Joanne, but that would be too obvious, so maybe it’s that weird guy? He’s so bizarre, but that’s what they want me to think. By the time you find out who the killer is, it doesn’t really make sense, but when they give you the reason, it doesn’t really pay off. Because the killer loves her? It’s perhaps the most typical thing about this movie and it feels like such a copout, but the dark and unexpected ending makes up for it and leaves one reminiscing about the ending to Bob Clark’s Black Christmas.

Synapse released the Blu-Ray/DVD combo, which is the uncensored Director’s cut called Death Dorm. From a technical standpoint, at times, the blacks look washed out with blues or yellows, but it’s not overwhelming. Edges look sharp, objects pop out and a lot of the noise and grain is cleaned up. They left enough of grain and blacks in the film, so it still feels dark and alarming. The only audio mix, however, is 2.0 mono (I personally prefer this for older horror films rather than remixing it in 5.1) so it has that very radio sound and feel to it. You can even listen to the score isolated! It does have some special features, such as audio commentary with Directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter, a few interviews with crew members, trailers and in traditional Synapse form, a reversible cover (the original US artwork entitled Pranks).

This is film is surprisingly overlooked and I would put it up with the greats like Twitch of the Death Nerve and Black Christmas. There are few dull moments, something is always happening and you believe the relationship between these kids. The dark, twisted ending was a nice surprise and I urge everyone to see this.

roadside attractions

  • Batter up!
  • Road Rage
  • Driller Killerer
  • Simon or Garfunkle?
  • Bobby Lee, the Man of Men
  • Human Stew
  • Black Christmas Syndrome
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Smothers it on think, like if there was some kind of butter gravy.

6

blood

BREASTS

Just one, but it is initializing and glorious.

7

beast

BEASTS

The killer isn’t the only creepy dude on campus, bro.

8.5 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by Barry Goodall | October 9, 2012 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, B-movies, Podcast

Join the Lost Highway mutant gang (Barry Goodall, The Doktor, and Giallo Goon) as they discuss the 1982 slasher classic, Pieces. Listen with the player below, or use the Download link to save a copy of the MP3 to your computer.

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Sep

Year: 1977 Runtime: 88 min

Director: Nobuhiko Ôbayashi

Writer: Chiho Katsura (screenplay), Chigumi Ôbayashi (original story)

Starring: Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo and Kumiko Ohba

After the massive success of Jaws, the suits at Toho contacted Nobuhiko Ôbayashi to develop a similar script. What they got was a ketamine fueled wet fart or, in common parlance, a screenplay both twisted and swarming with juvenile poo-poo humor. I cannot imagine the demented fever which destroyed the writer’s fragile grip on reality as he wrote this. Sweet Sweating Christ outside Mary Magdalene’s door! What ungodly torture to endure, even for a moment.

See. The mere mention of it brought me to a frenzy. I have to relax, there is more to tell.

The final product can only be considered a film only in the strictest meaning of the word. That is, it’s a collection of pictures, one after the other, playing at 24 frames per second for 88 minutes. Truth is, Hausu is something you experience, like love or LSD or a colostomy. Each has their allure, but rarely do they make sense. Even in retrospect.

Hausu is the story of a young girl, Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami), and her six friends who visit Gorgeous’ aunt over summer break. Gorgeous and her friends are named for their asset: Gorgeous is beautiful and fashion conscious; Prof is the smart one with glasses and her face in a book; Melody can play any musical instrument; Kung Fu is a master of martial arts; Mac is the fat, hongry one; Sweet is sweet; and finally, Fantasy is the overly imaginative one.

Aunt, who is never named, broods in her mansion on the hill, the titular house. For thirty years she has haunted the place, waiting—love never effectuated. She and her fiancé had made a pinky promise to marry once he returned from WWII. Because he never did the years of solitude twisted Aunt into a malevolent demon.

That ends the logical portion of the film. The rest is a hellish string of things-that-happen in Hunter S. Thompson proportions, if he were a Japanese school girl in a Jaws reinterpretation.

The madness experienced first hand by the girls is usually explained away as “an illusion.” I tend to agree with that assessment. How else would you explain disembodied fingers playing a piano, or a grown man transformed into a pile of bananas or skin falling away to reveal a new body of flame, a la Johnny Storm, or equality for all in the eyes of the law?

Never watch this film before going to bed. Strange and terrible things will stalk your slumber. I will speak of it no more because my blood runs cold remembering my dreams. I ask that you trust me on this.

I do not want to spoil the roller coaster ride, so I will just say this and be done with it: Hausu is the epitome of schizophrenic genius. The absolute best anti-drug propaganda I have ever witnessed. And, just for the record, as diametrically opposed to Jaws any film could be.

roadside attractions

  • killer mattresses
  • disembodied head biting her friend
  • painting projectile puking
  • awesome Kung Fu action
  • Monkey’s style musical montage
  • gratuitous
  • cat tossing action (but NOT to scare you)
  • hongry, hongry piano
  • Watermelon Man transformed into a skeleton because Mr. Togo likes bananas
  • house under six feet of cat’s blood
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Houseful

4

blood

BREASTS

Four. Exactly the right number for two naked women. A bit of sanity in the midst of the bedlam that is this film.

10

beast

BEASTS

Awful and depraved hysteria presented in hyper-unrealistic papier-mâché

8.0 OVERALL
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Sep

posted by Doktor | September 2, 2012 | 80's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Comedy, Review by Doktor

Tagline: We’ll make your engine run hot.

Year: Runtime: 99 min

Director: George Mihalka

Writer: Richard Zelniker

Starring: Michael Zelniker, Carl Marotte and Karen Stephen

The year was 1980. The 70s were officially gone, but not far enough to persuade caucasian men into thinking white fro’s were NOT cool. Arcades were stocked solely with pinball machines. And most importantly, women wore their short shorts up past their navels, making a paradise of moose knuckles and buttock cheeks.

Into this nirvana came the movie Pick-up Summer, a teen-age sex comedy that breaks from most expected plot points and tropes in the genre. Originally it was titled Pinball Summer, but changed because there is far more pick-up, and I mean this quite literally (more later), than pinball. There is a bit of pick-up, read: hooking up, but the act of physically sweeping one off their feet way out numbers any getting together.

One of the most disheartening omissions is the lack of sweater meat. Sure, there is titillation in the form of nipples visible through flimsy t-shirts, but only three scenes of full on bazooms. What’s worse, two of the three scenes are quick flashes.

Sex comedy sans boobs?

The biggest departure from the genre is the lack of the outsider/loner/geek who has to challenge the dashing stud at the fad competition highlighted, in this movie’s case pinball. There’s no initial challenge where our hero fails. There’s no training montage to build up the hero back up. And though there is a final showdown, it’s hard to make a game of pinball exciting. It’s like an ugly contest. You can’t get excited about the competition. You feel sorry for the winner. And, at some point, you realize that you simply don’t care.

Instead, what this movie does offer is an hour and twenty minutes of rivalry building, in the form of two sets of idiots stealing a trophy from one another. The trophy they are taking from one another is half of the prize for winning the pinball tournament. The other half being a date with the Pinball Queen, the dream of all young girls. I understand that this is a small town, and a comedy not to be taken seriously, but really, fighting over a trophy? And Pete, the owner of the arcade, is really worried about it being stolen? What, he can’t afford to replace this piece of crap trophy?

Oh, and just to make sure the audience hates everyone in the film, there’s a liberal amount of unwarranted pranking. You would be hard pressed to find a film with kids more deserving of getting viciously murdered than these jerks. Where was Mike Myers, Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger?

Everyone in this movie—the teens, the adults, the cops—are all best described as a “shower of bastards.”

Then there’s the new fangled pinball machine, Arthur: The Talking Pinball Machine. This is the creepiest piece of technology since Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nothing says fun like, “Hey! Don’t tickle me there!” coming from a pinball machine painted to look like Ronald McDonald’s lecherous uncle.

Why would you want to watch such an cinematic abortion? There’s a few reasons. First, there’s a smashing drinking game you can play. (I’m quite fond of the maxim, “The more you drink, the better the film gets.”) Every time someone gets picked up, drink. You can use either definition, getting with someone or sweeping off their feet. The latter will get you good and drunk. Just don’t play this game if you’re going to be driving. I don’t want to be responsible for any DUI’s.

Second, although this movie is a far cry from from what you would expect from a film of this genre made in the 80s, the fact that it does stray so far off corse makes it fun to watch. Fun in a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 kind of way. You can’t help but sling snarky comments at the screen as you watch this film. Go on, try it.

Third, there are quite a few scenes with extras, some of which where obviously there as extras, some just happened to be in the area, or “production value”. It’s fun to watch what these people are doing, partially because of what the camera is focused on is so retarded, but also because there’s some very funny stuff happening, most unintentional. There’s a few scenes where the fourth wall is broken. There’s people who don’t know what the hell they’re supposed to be doing. Better still, in the dancing scenes, the people who are dancing (and I use that term lightly) are only barely doing so. Tonic-clonic seizure comes to mind.

The best background hijinks is during the gym scene. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I will say this, it is intentional. Despite the filmmaker’s best effort to make a bad comedy, this is pretty funny.

Finally, there’s some unintentional bromance. Greg and Steve spend a little too much time together, during which they get too close for way too long. And then there’s the biker dry humping his fellow— enough of that. You get the idea. With all the touchy-feely tom foolery this film should have been called Grab-ass Summer.

This film isn’t bad enough to be remembered among the greats (Plan 9 from Outer Space, Manos Hands of Fate, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park) but it is entertaining enough to watch, especially if you’re in a nitpicking mood. It seems counter intuitive to say, but it’s the fact that it strays from the genre that makes it worth your while.

roadside attractions

  • Pressed ham to impress the ladies
  • Futurific talking pinball machine
  • Pinball championship
  • Funny pervert flasher
  • Teen-age boy turning down sex
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

None. But there is a lot of ketchup, which in b-movies is the same thing.

7

blood

BREASTS

Not nearly enough for the genre, but Joy Boushel makes up in quality where this film lacks quantity

9

beast BEASTS

Everyone in this movie is a monster.

7.0 OVERALL
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Aug

rawhead rex

I sit before you with a migraine, angry, writing this piece. Ahem. I remember checking out some graphic novels at a local Hastings store when I was a kid. One by Clive Barker in particular caught my. It was called Rawhead Rex and at the time, it was one of the most violent and shocking graphic novels I had seen. I was young and comics to me meant something like X-Men and Batman, but this… this was a whole other beast. Gore and foul language filled each page as Rex devoured villagers and children. I remember being stunned that he was totally nude and reminded me of the Alien from… well, Alien. Shortly thereafter, my brother and I saw the VHS at the same store. We were totally shocked this was made into a movie. How could the censors allow such a thing? We had to see it so we rented it immediately.

rawhead rexRemember that one Christmas as a kid where you asked for Top Gun on Nintendo, but instead you got the Top Gun Tiger Electronics Game?

Yeah, so there is this guy Howard Hallenbeck who is on holiday with his wife and two kids in Ireland to research some religious doo-dads for a book he’s writing. What a convenient set up for him. So where does Rex come in? A couple of farmers are trying to remove a phallic like structure (wouldn’t be a Clive Barker movie without one) and eventually it gets struck by lightning and BOOM! Instant demon!

Now here’s where it gets disappointing as I previously mentioned. It didn’t take the movie too long to get to this point.

Rex is… nothing like he looks like in the book. In the book, he was described as a nine foot tall phallus with teeth (…yup). And how does he look in the movie? He looks like Kane Hodder in a goofy Halloween mask with those blinking red LED lights and an S & M suit. And just like I did when I saw this as a kid, my face froze in a state of shock. I didn’t know if I should laugh or be angry. So I did both.

With Rex’s arrival, an alter at the local church becomes hot like a stove and a priest or deacon or whatever religious status he has by the name of Declan O’Brien touches it and sees visions of Rex and all his chaos. This blows his mind and he goes bonkers. Although I think it was unintentional, this guy becomes something of the comic relief character.

rawhead rexNot much to comment on anymore. Rex runs around eating people, one being Howard’s son, which was graphic in the comic, but here it’s only implied through edits. Sigh. Rex lazily slashes at people as what looks like ketchup is slapped on as special effects and people fall down and die. So by now, you’re just waiting for the movie to be over, but luckily O’Brien offers some of the funniest dialogue, with odd combinations of swearing at the top of his lungs and cackling like a madman. Best part of the film is when Rex ‘baptizes’ him by peeing all over O’Brien and he laughs like an idiot the entire time. I think I rewound this part like eight or nine times.

Finally your wish comes true and the movie draws to a close. Howard finds some relic that can kill Rex, but *choke* *gasp* it doesn’t work! Then his wife comes from out of nowhere and apparently, it had to be the power of a female to kill Rex. This could have worked… if they didn’t set this plot device up in the final ten seconds! Seriously, you could have built up to it. I know, they probably wanted to give the female character something to do instead of just being in the background, but that’s all she was up until this point! So they kill him, some kid puts flowers on a grave and Rex’s emerges from the ground and roars, as if this movie merited a sequel.

Come to think of it, in the graphic novel, I believe the villagers got together and pillaged him. That would have been way better. I also heard rumors of a remake a few years back, but nothing since. Clive Barker was wise to discredit this movie. Boo.

roadside attractions

  • Giant hamburgers
  • Raw-ha-ha-head Rex
  • Peed on Preacher
  • Children-O’s
  • Ireland
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

About as mild as the Hot Sauce at Taco Bell. Whatever that means

3

blood

BREASTS

I think one instant on pregnant woman? Ew.

4

beast

BEASTS

FEAR RAWHEAD REX! If you don’t die from laughter first

6.0 OVERALL
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