Archive for the 'Exploitation' Category

Apr

Comments Off on The House by the Cemetery

The House by the Cemetery
1981 – Unrated – Blue Underground
Starring Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Giovanni Frezza – Directed by Lucio Fulci

Finding a new home isn’t always easy. Most of the time if it seems to good to be true, it most likely is. Sometimes there is mold damage or the foundation isn’t sturdy… or sometimes there is an evil doctor turned creature living in the basement that murders people for blood and body parts. That’s usually something they keep off the record, so it isn’t until you buy the home that you have to deal with that pest yourself or hire an exterminator, as the Boyle’s find out in Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery. As the tagline says, “Read the fine print. You may have just mortgaged your life!” which is one of my favorites of all time and sets up the events that you are in store for. Of course other taglines read, “Can anyone survive the demented marauding zombies in…” and “BEWARE THE DEMON FORCES OF THE… BLOOD BEASTS,” misdirecting and implying that there is more than one monster, but I guess it wouldn’t be a Fulci film if something weren’t mildly confusing.

Like most Fulci films, The House by the Cemetery‘s plot isn’t the most logical, having a few glaring holes here and there and the ending of the film making little or no sense, but not as incomprehensible as some of his other work, say Manhattan Baby. Apparently in early releases of the VHS, some of the reels are edited out of order, making the story even more confusing. This was made in the early 80’s when Fulci was really serving up some well told, nasty horror flicks, sometimes so nasty the movie would earn a well deserved spot on the Video Nasties list. Alongside City of the Living Dead and The Beyond, The House by the Cemetery is considered to be the third in his unofficial “Gates of Hell Trilogy.” Since I already discussed the film in a Goon Reviews video, (WATCH IT HERE!) why would I be talking about it again? Because it’s that good. Read on.

hbtc_2The House by the Cemetery opens up quite literally in the very definition, as we see a house that is next to a cemetery. It’s a relieving feeling, knowing you can trust the film to be true to the title, unlike some others (I’m looking at you, I Drink Your Blood). A young couple has finished using the uninhabited property as a secluded place to boink. This scene like catching the tail end of a horror movie cliche, as we don’t see the sex act, but the young girl who vomited her guts out (literally) in City of the Living Dead calls out for her boyfriend about a thousand times before finding his mutilated body nailed to a door, then getting a knife driven through the back of her skull and out her mouth. As the unseen murderer that is made up of rotting body parts, as indicated by one of his hands, I can’t help but wonder… did Pieces copy that exact same stabbing scene, or did this film rip off Pieces? With Italian filmmakers, sometimes it’s hard to tell who ripped off who.

Enter the Boyles, who are moving to this Boston home from New York City, where every Italian movie seems to center. The man of the house, Dr. Norman Boyle, is continuing the research of his colleague who was working in the house when he mysteriously murdered his mistress and committed suicide, so obviously this is the dream home to bring your wife Lucy (played by Fulci regular Catroina MacColl), who has previously heard voices and hallucinated on meds and your effeminate son, Bob, who claims a girl in one of the photos of the house has been warning his family not to come. Clearly the ideal Norman Rockwell painted family.

But first, a little disclaimer about Bob.

hbtc_3Bob is going to freak you out, thanks to the magic of dubbing. He may look like a normal child, but just wait til he starts speaking and you hear one of the oddest voice acting choices for dubbing. Bob’s voice is something of a middle aged woman who hasn’t quite reached puberty yet. It will catch you off guard.

Even with all these flashing red warnings, the Boyle’s move in anyway, giving further material for the Wayans that “white people be tripping.” Within moments of moving and establishing that Lucy might be slightly off her rocker, the babysitter, Ann, arrives, played by that creepy staring chick with the thick eyebrows that is strangely attractive from Dario Argento’s Inferno. The actress decided to reach slightly outside of her acting safe zone of staring ominously past the camera and actually have a speaking role… while staring ominously past the camera.

As if the company the Boyle’s are keeping isn’t disturbing them enough, it doesn’t take long for the house to being making all kinds of Spencer’s Gifts haunted house CD noises, with the creaking floorboards and childish crying. These sounds drive Norman to pause his research and investigate to find, to his shocking horror, Ann trying to pry open the boarded up basement door. At like, two in the morning. Huh? Why would she be doing that at an ungodly hour? Maybe she got home from the bar and still had some leftover Red Bull and vodka energy.

And the next morning, it’s brushed off like it never happened. Bob meets this ghost girl from the photo, named Mae, who is not only a ghostly figure that warns Bob of the dangers to come, but also plays hide and seek with him! Norman goes about his research, beginning to uncover the odd disappearances of the townsfolk and more about his co-worker’s death, while Lucy finds a tombstone marked Jacob Tess Freudstein in the middle of their living area. Norman assures her that all the homes in the area have them and it’s nothing to worry about. And to prove she has nothing to worry about, he finally pries that damn cellar door open, after about a bajillion false delays and the Fulci trademark “close up on the eyes of people exchanging glances” shot. Upon investigating the basement, they realize there is nothing to be afraid of down there except BAAAAAAAT! The winged rat tangles itself in Lucy’s hair and bites Norman on the hand, which Norman then dispatches by stabbing it with a pair of scissors and the bat bleeds out of several pre-cut holes.

hbtc_4Well, that’s about enough of that! The Boyle’s immediately smash cut to the real estate place demanding to be re-housed, but are unfortunately they are told it would be a few days. A few days later (I think… or later that day?) when the Boyle’s are off doing… something, the real estate lady, Mrs. Gittelson, arrives to tell them about their new crib, but the monster living in the house likes his new tenants and stabs her to death with a fireplace poker and drags her into the basement. By now you’re thinking, “A Fulci film without an eyeball gouging? What the hell!?” Well, you may notice that as Mr. Gittelson is being dragged off, one of her eye’s is torn apart. Apparently, there was a shot of her death scene in which her eye gets ripped out of its socket, but was cut because Fulci felt it didn’t look authentic enough. Man, given the caliber of effects in Italian horror films, your effect must have really sucked if Fulci wanted to pass on an eyeball gouging.

The next morning, Ann is scrubbing away at the giant bloodstain that Lucy barely questions and then shrugs off. Ann stares at Lucy, unblinking and silent, as Lucy’s questions go unanswered and all she can say afterwards is, “that girl Ann is a real weirdo.” Understatement of the year. Norman is all like, “whatevs” and glosses over some background history on their resident in the tomb, Dr. Freudstein. Apparently, he was a mad scientist of sorts. This prompts Norman to get away from his family for awhile and head back to New York City. Norman bails on his family while Lucy goes shopping, leaving Ann with the increasingly annoying Bob, who she thinks she hears crying in the basement. Ah, she fell for an old horror movie cliche! There’s no way she’ll get “a head” that way… wink!

hbtc_5Arming himself with a toy gun and a teddy bear, Bob heads into the basement to save Ann (or what’s left of her), but is saved from a monster hiding in the shadows when his mother comes home. Bob tries to tell her about Ann’s rotting corpse in their basement that’s littered with body parts, but Lucy isn’t having any of that nonsense and sends Bob to bed. But Bob, now being convinced by his mother that Ann isn’t dead, sneaks down into the basement only to be confronted by the monstrous Dr. Freudstein, who looks like a half melted, rotting corpse with fresh new limbs, which turns out that’s what he does with his victims. Norman has just discovered this and rushed home to help Lucy rescue Bob and quickly get out all this exposition, that Freudstein needs new limbs and fresh blood to stay alive (um, don’t regular people need that too?). Norman hacks off Freudstein’s fresh new arm while breaching the door with an axe and freeing Bob from the mad doctor’s clutches, reuniting them all in the basement. But rather than immediately dashing out and escaping to somewhere safe or torching the place, they stay in the basement, listening to the child like cries of the doctor (now that I think of it, why does he cry like that?). Dr. Freudstein slowly approaches the family and getting prison shanked by Norman, which he could argue was in “self defense.” However, Freudstein is a hardcore fan (and probably the only fan) of the MacGruber movie and tears out Norman’s throat, spilling gallons of blood! Lucy and Bob try to run up the stairs under the tomb, attempting to shove the heavy slab of concrete blocking their only exit.

It’s actually a well paced, tense scene. The monster slowly approaches them, making his way up the stairs and just when you think they are going to make it, Dr. Freudstein grabs Lucy’s ankles and drags her down the stairs as we hear her scream in the darkness and then silence. Bob is now all alone and orphaned as he sees Freudstein make his way back up the stairs. Bob frantically tries to push open what he and a full grown, panicky women couldn’t open and as the doctor inches his way toward Bob, within his grasps. Suddenly, a pair of tiny hands rip open the tomb with Hulk like strength and free Bob, who is revealed to be Mae. Wait, what? Apparently Mae can summon “mother saving a trapped baby” strength and not only rip open a couple hundred pound slab on concrete, but yank Bob out of there so fast that if she let go, he would have shot into the atmosphere. But the confusion only begins there. Throughout the film, Mae is accompanied by an older woman whose face we never see, until now, when it’s revealed to be Freudstein’s wife, making her at least a hundred years old… so, are they ghosts? As the kids and Mrs. Freudstein wonder off, you can’t help but to be puzzled by the ending, but it’s not going sour the experience of the movie for you.

Of all the movies that could have been named Don’t Go in the Basement, this should have been it.The House by the Cemetery, while in traditional Fulci form by not being entirely coherent, is one of his more strongly structured stories. In exchange for that, it’s also not his bloodiest or nastiest… but it is in no way tame. The film is packed with plenty of stomach turning moments of brutality and gore, that is sure to make you toss up your lunch. Something that is often overlooked in these kinds of films is the beauty of the cinematography. While it may not be as artistic as his Italian counterpart Dario Argento, Fulci’s shots in this film are often open when outdoors, sometimes feeling colorless, which leaves with the feeling of dread and becoming more claustrophobic as we go further down into the house and into the basement where the reds start to run. Right from the opening shot of the fog rolling over the graves and over to the empty, dilapidated house, you feel at unease, but there is something gorgeous about what you are looking at.

The House by the Cemetery
This film is a staple for horror fans and a pillar for Italian horror flicks. For all the fun I had nit picking a few things here and there, it’s a without a doubt pretty solid horror film with, for the most part, pretty decent acting, dreary mood and atmosphere, splattered with all kinds of guts and gore making this a must have for fanatics of the macabre cinema.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Fornicators be damned.
  • Bob.
  • Exciting and thrilling real estate!
  • Not the goddamn Batman.
  • Ann demonstrates how to lose your head.
  • This doctor makes house calls!
  • Road House-style throat rip!
  • Are they ghosts?
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

Stabbings, decapitations, guttings… it wouldn’t be a Fulci film without the pretty red stuff!

5

blood

BREASTS

Right in your face at the start, but that’s it in the boobies department. Not even cleavage afterwards.

10

beast

BEASTS

Don’t be fooled by his sissy cry, Dr. Freudstein is a beast! Is Bob’s atrociously dubbed voice a match for him? And don’t forget about large, oddly square-shaped bats!

8 OVERALL
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Mar

Comments Off on Ninja Terminator

Ninja Terminator
1985 – Not Rated – IFD Films and Arts
Starring Richard Harrison, Jang Lee Hwang – Directed by Godfrey Ho

Before we get into the review, let’s talk about what kind of movie Ninja Terminator is. If you’re thinking that it’s some kind of actual ninja terminator like that cyborg from Robocop 3, you’re way off. If you think it’s ninjas fighting a terminator, as awesome of an idea as that would be, it’s also incorrect, so stop guessing. It’s actually a hybrid of two different low budget movies and when I say that, I don’t mean it’s a mixed genre. Allow me to further explain.

There are all kinds of low budget film making techniques, some cheesier than others, but nothing takes the cake when it comes to Martial Arts B-Movie director Godfrey Ho. You see, Godfrey had such a cheap and quick method that it borderlines genius and schlock; To save money, he would film a small amount of new footage and later take another film he had already shot or owned, cut the two together, dub new dialogue so they tell the same story and there you go! A movie! Perhaps the best and cheesiest part about this method is the two films had little or nothing in common, but Godfrey always found a way to connect the two, usually by a telephone scene since the actors from both films obviously never meet on camera. Did it always work? Ehhh, kinda. Sometimes it can be a bit convoluted and confusing, but Ninja Terminator is pretty coherent… for the most part.

nt_2So here we are, somewhere in Asia (I think) as the evil Ninja Master of the infamous ninja empire (and you can tell he is the ninja master, because his GI is red so he blends in with… red things?), which is now evil, assembles the three parts of the Golden Ninja Warrior Statue to control its awesome power. He tells his henchmen to attack him, but their swords are powerless against him, now that he harnesses the wicked power of the Golden Ninja Warrior Statue. He laughs menacingly in that way only a poorly dubbed movie could pull off, “HA-HA-HA!” So you know it’s working effectively, which is fortunate for him.

One thing you may be asking yourself right now is, “Why do all the ninjas wear mascara?” And they wouldn’t answer you. They would suddenly appear behind you and spin kick you. How dare you ask such a stupid question.

However, three of the ninjas, Ninja Master Harry… yes, you heard right… Ninja Master Harry (Godfrey Ho regular Richard Harrison), Towne and Tamashi (these two guys are so obscure that even their character’s names aren’t listed on any Wiki entry or IMDB), each steal a piece of the statue and decide to keep them hidden from the evil ninja master, since he has become evil… EEEVVVIIILLL! As they flee the evil ninja fortress, they are attacked by ninjas doing cartwheels, but are easily defeated by Harry and the other two and they manage to escape.

nt_3Two years pass and Tamashi is immediately killed, which sucks because we knew his character for all of two seconds. Believing Tamashi’s sister may have his piece of the Golden Ninja Warrior Statue, Towne, who is now apparently corrupt and wants the statue all to himself, hires the sinister Tiger Chan to kidnap her. Tiger dresses like Rufus Shinra from Final Fantasy VII, in a white suit and for some odd reason, wears a woman’s blonde wig. Truly he is threatening! Also hearing of Tamashi’s passing, Harry hires the cocky Interpol agent Jaguar Wong, a man so smug that even George Clooney would tell him to tone it down, to protect her. There isn’t one scene where this guy isn’t chewing bubble gum, but dammit! He’s always kicks arse when he does! He’ll even put his hands in his pockets and kick you all over the place! Harry and Jaguar keep in contact via a Garfield telephone since they aren’t in the same movie, but still need help from each other.

Meanwhile, Towne and Harry are visited at their homes by ninjas, but these chumps are easily thwarted after our heroes jump into the air and spin and in a Sailor Moon fashion, instantly appearing in new ninja duds! Harry has a sweet tiger striped camo GI, by the way. They learn they are being targeted by the “Ninja Terminator” for their pieces of the statue. Speaking of, how’s Jaguar doing on protecting that girl?

After a couple dozen scenes of Jaguar chewing gum, smirking and drop kicking everyone (funny how none of these thugs think to bring a gun when they know they can’t beat him), turns out she was kidnapped and will be killed if the statue isn’t returned. Cut to some scenes of Harry fighting some ninjas, who have the power to teleport a couple feet. But later, Jaguar also happened to sort of kidnap Tiger’s right hand man’s girl and have sex with her where she shows off her… hairy armpits. But they once had a thing with and they want to exchange girls and get the statue, I think, but…

nt_4You know, for a plot that should be so simple, there is actually quite a lot going on and most of that is due to trying to make footage from another film fit into a ninja movie. This is where it really starts to get mixed up and can feel confusing, so fast forward past a few more scenes of Jaguar kicking people in the face, as Harry and Towne have it out with the Evil Ninja Master after they are delivered a message from a toy robot. Yes, that actually happens. Harry and Towne put aside their differences and agree to take out this threat in the final battle for total control over the Golden Ninja Warrior Statue!

Okay, so it may not be the best example of a balls to wall martial arts film, but the ninjas fighting in this is pretty cool, with the sharp and quick whip sounds with every punch and those generic ninja costumes are just so damn neat. No wire work here! This is back in the day when you had to hire actual martial artists to do your dirty work and it definitely shows. I don’t want to say that the fight choreography here is stellar, but it is pretty impressive. Richard Harrison and his awesome dad mustache kick some serious tail. This movie has everything you could want out of a ninja flick: Bad dubbing to the point where every character sounds similar, stolen music cues (I noticed the theme from A Clockwork Orange in there), exaggerated sound effects, magical abilities and at the end of it, the hero wins!

Ninja Terminator
Do I recommend the film? Absolutely. It’s not completely incoherent and it’s a lot of fun. This is the kind of movie you can watch with your buddies and have a great time. If you want to see an excellent spoof on the Godfrey Ho martial arts films, check out Ninja: The Mission Force from Ed Glazer (the show also stars The Cinema Snob’s Brad Jones). Their love for these kind of films really shine through here, from cutting in other films, the bad dubbing, even right down to the Garfield phone. Anyway, I think I’ve said too much. I must pass this along to my ninja editor so he can ninja post it. It’s the ninja code.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Richard Harrison and his dad-stache destroying ninjas!
  • Avon Ninja eyeliner.
  • Insta-change costume ninja!
  • Better hope Jaguar isn’t all outta bubble gum…
  • No problem that can’t be solved with ninja fighting.
  • Garfield phone.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Swords wiped across people’s legs and stomachs, but no blood.

4

blood

BREASTS

Who needs boobs when you have ninjas? Ah, who am I kidding? Of course you do, but the one pair in this movie is ruined when you see those hairy pits.

8

beast

BEASTS

NINJAS! Everywhere are ninjas! But, what’s up with Tiger’s wig?

5.3 OVERALL
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Mar

Comments Off on Strike Commando

Strike Commando
1987 – Unrated – Flora Film
92 Minutes – Starring Reb Brown, Christopher Connelly, Alex Vitale – Directed by Bruno Mattei

A one man commando team sneaks deep into enemy lines by the orders of his snaky superior to obtain evidence of communist presence in Vietnam and personally liberating any innocent victims… sound familiar? It included scenes like his heroic escape from torture before making a cowardly radio broadcast, waving a belt fed machine gun back and forth, screaming at the top of his lungs like a banshee, all while single handedly wiping out the red threat and doing so shirtless, wearing a bandanna… That’s right, Strike Commando! What, you were thinking of another action packed movie that featured a major action star, made a boatload of money and was seen by a mainstream audience?

In case you couldn’t tell by my poor attempt at sarcasm (oh, I thought I was so good at it), the film I was actually describing is Rambo: First Blood Part II or for the laymen, Rambo II. It’s not uncommon that a popular movie is ripped off, in fact throughout the 70’s and 80’s, there was quite an increase of these “clones,” the best of ’em brought to you by Italian cult film director, Bruno Mattei. Bruno, sometimes directing under the pseudonym Vincent Dawn, had made quite a name for himself by ripping off other popular films, such as Predator with Robowar, Dawn of the Dead with Hell of the Living Dead, Aliens with Shocking Dark and Salon Kitty with SS Girls. Now, I know the term “ripoff” can automatically turn people off from a movie, especially when it seems like these films are poor, low budget replicas, but you would be misled. Hell of the Living Dead may appear as nothing more than an inferior copy of Romero’s movie, but after the first act, if actually does its own thing. Or SS Girls, filled with disgusting, oddball characters, further exploiting the elements of the original movie it’s mocking, you really see that this is the kind of film that director’s like Quentin Tarantino are trying to make. After that mouthful, let’s look past this minor flaw and give this film a ‘shot.’ Pun intended.

sc_2Deep in the jungle of the Philippines, I mean Vietnam, a team of Strike Commandos is infiltrating an enemy base to plant explosives, because… um, because. The team is led by Michael Ransom, played by the notorious blonde beefcake Reb Brown. For those of you unfamiliar with him, Reb Brown was the muscle bound, B-Movie action star of the 80’s (most commonly known to the mainstream audience as Big McLargehuge from the MST3K episode Space Mutiny) that did it better than any of the A-listers. The man would hoist a heavy machine gun in one hand, waving it all around and somehow hitting every target, all while screaming his war cry… the most throat peeling, intense scream so damn frightening that I’m convinced the bullets are not firing from his gun, but they are fleeing from Reb in terror. Anyway, after a sentry (toting an M-60 for whatever reason) spots them and raises an alarm, most of the Strike Commandos are KIA in the attack and the rest are killed in the premature explosions, ordered to be set off by Col. Radek, who has been watching from a vantage point the entire time along with Major Harriman. The Major is angered, but Col. Radek reminds him that the mission is more important than the lives of the Strike Commandos. But if you think Ransom is dead, you’re wrong… dead wrong.

As the opening credits roll, Ransom drifts down a river, somehow holding his breath all night and morning, until he is found by a local village boy who nurses him back to health in time to recreate that scene from Beyond Thunderdome where Mad Max wakes from being unconscious, only to be tied by his ankles and fall out of a hut. After speaking with an elderly Frenchman, Le Due, living with the Vietnamese, Ransom agrees to escort them to some place safe. Along the way, they find a dead soldier with a working radio, so Ransom calls his base for a rendezvous pick up and threatening vengeance simultaneously, which admittedly probably sent mixed signals.

The next day, Ransom and the villagers come across enemy fighters where everyone, including Le Due who looks like he must stink of three week old cheese left in the sun, gets in on the action. Being old and stinky, Le Due stops for a nip only to be ambushed and choked to death by a hulking Russian that in no way bears any similarities with most Dolph Lundgren characters named Jakoda. And trust me, you’ll remember that name… Upon finding Le Due’s corpse, Ransom notices a Russian star insignia that Le Due tore off in a struggle, indicating Russian presence in Vietnam.

sc_3The body count rises as Ransom mows down Commies by the dozen in his escape, but unfortunately there are too many, even for Ransom. He manages to flee the Communist Russia infested Vietnam, leaving all the villagers behind… whoops. Seeking earlier said vengeance, Ransom comes back to the US with his beans completely steamed, but Major Harriman calms him down with in a more elegant, “Yo, bro! CHILL!” But no worries, as Ransom immediately volunteers to go back and take photographic evidence of the Russian presence. I think we all know where this is leading.

Ransom returns to find all of the villagers have been wiped out. He comes across the young boy who helped nurse him at the beginning, dying, making a last request for Ransom to tell him all about Disneyland… where the popcorn grows on trees, mountains of cotton candy flourish, the chocolate malt rivers flow and a magic genie that will grant your most wonderful wish… and Reb delivers this all while crying in the most Oscar worthy clip ever put on celluloid and I mean that in the most sincere way. There is no way any actor could take these lines from this script seriously (which makes me question if Bruno Mattei and screenwriter Claudio Fragasso were aware and making a parody) and deliver it the way Reb does. My hats off to him for being able to say what he says with a straight face and shedding tears. Come to think about it, it also humanizes him more so than Rambo. During his mission, Ransom had befriended several villagers and risked his neck for them. He’s actually quite a compassionate hero when you think about it. This is Ransom’s breaking point. With a vengeful war cry, holding the deceased young boy and screaming, “JAKODA-AAAA!” at the tops of his lungs, he sets out for revenge!

After learning the whereabouts of Jakoda, Ransom shreds up some huts with an M-60, cutting the place to ribbons, but Jakoda reveals himself, unscathed and forcing Ransom to surrender by holding a hostage. That damn big heart of his! In order to force him to make a demoralizing radio broadcast, Ransom is tortured for what we can assume is weeks, maybe months, as he is whipped, electrified, does extreme yard work and locked in a cell with a rotting corpse! This scene is actually pretty dark and not easy to watch as listen to him gag, vomit and plead. In contrast, Rambo had it much easier compared to Ransom! Finally giving in, Ransom agrees to make the broadcast and PSYCHE! You think Ransom would cower and give in to your demands? Think again! Ransom escapes after pretending to make the demoralizing speech, only to make it peppy and uplifting, shouting into the mic at the top of his lungs the way Reb does and takes out the guards. I’m pretty sure it was at this moment that Reb Brown birthed the acronym BAMF.

sc_4While escaping, Ransom takes one of his captors and Jakoda’s partner, Olga, hostage and learns of betrayal and treason… Radek was working with the Russians all along! At first he doesn’t believe it, until Radek flies by in a chopper shooting at him, killing Olga. Some rescue! Making his way through the jungle, killing scumbags by the handful, he literally runs boot first into Jakoda, who wants to go head to head with Ransom. What follows is the most testosterone driven, bare knuckled fist fight of all time. You literally feel the weight and the impact of their punches and cringe in pain as the two large slabs meat smash faces! Ultimately, Ransom gets one over on Jakoda and tosses him over a waterfall to his doom… or so he thinks.

Ransom finds Radek’s base, turning it into Swiss cheese with a machine gun, but Major Harriman appears to inform him that the traitor Radek has fled. Still, it was fun to recreate that scene where Rambo shoots up Murdock’s office. But there is no hiding from Ransom forever. Now sporting a kicking yellow bandanna, Ransom tracks Radek down in his new operation and doing what he does best; crumbling the place top to bottom with a grenade launcher and wasting henchman and office furniture with a belt fed machine gun, howling at the top of his lungs! After satisfyingly blowing Radek into a thousand pieces, Jakoda appears with a new set of metal teeth (I’m guessing it was cool, because Jaws had them in a Bond film and they’re cool). After another balls out fist fight, Ransom stuffs a grenade in Jakoda’s mouth, leaving a ghostly shout of, “AMERICANSKI-III!” as he blows in half!

Holy hell, is this movie… AWESOME! The action is over the top so much so,that every bullet and every explosion feels like an intense kick to your face, forcing you to grind your teeth. Everyone actually puts in a solid performance. You downright despise Radek from the start, which makes his death that more satisfying. Jakoda is a physical and mental threat to Ransom (almost like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises) and Ransom himself is the all American muscle hero with a heart of gold that you want to root for. Reb Brown delivers one of his best performances and creates one of his best and believable characters. Reb is so buff, that even the largest of weapons look like mere peashooters in his arms and you completely buy that this guy could take down Jakoda, someone twice his size, in a fist fight.

Strike Commando
Anyone can rip off a single film and do it shot for shot (look at Carnosaur 2), but it takes a mastermind like Bruno Mattei to ripoff a film, integrate ripped off scenes from other films, add a few interesting character traits and actually throw in a few twists and somehow make it his own. As I mentioned earlier, he’s done this before, but I think Strike Commando (along with Hell of the Living Dead) is a shining example of Bruno Mattei’s work and that a ripoff can actually be somewhat original and downright entertaining and enjoyable on its own. It’s filled with action and great characters that I, like the Strike Commandos, demand justice, that you go out and find a copy of this movie… or no magical journey down the chocolate malt river at Disneyland for you, Amercanski!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Reb. Brown.
  • Ruptured ducks.
  • Rambo or Ransom?
  • Reb’s patented war cry.
  • Praise be thy explosion.
  • Head to head with Jakoda.
  • Office make over Reb style!
  • Russian dentists sure make good dentures
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Reb Brown eliminating all enemy threats with bullets, explosions and his most deadly weapon, his fists!

5

blood

BREASTS

You don’t need boobs when you have Reb Brown.

10

beast

BEASTS

Radek is slimy, Jakoda is menacing, but Ransom is all American, all butt kicking and unstoppable!

7.3 OVERALL
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Jan

Comments Off on Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher
2012 – Not Rated – Sledgehammer Films

Gather ’round these here parts and mosey on up to the campfire to hear the legend! There’s something people don’t seem to do anymore; tell ghastly stories and fabled legends around a burning campfire, trying to scare the mud out of each other’s britches. With how constantly connected we are now, the equivalent to camping would be watching a movie on your iPad, sitting around a campfire Blu-ray from your couch. But enough of about my unbridled hatred for the 21st century and all your precious modern technology; let’s be reminded of a more simple time, when chilling stories were told and hear the tale of a time when people were proud to live off the land, provide for themselves with what the Earth gives them and forage for their own food… even if it’s trespassers! Let’s hear the tale of Carl Henry Jessup… Let’s hear The Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher!

lothb_2The set up makes it appear to be a cut and paste slasher, but I assure you, Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher is anything but. It’s easy to get that impression from the start, as an old man tells three wide eyed children this probably not so age appropriate spooky tale about a butcher and his meat, long pig (would you like to take a guess as to what that could be?). This scene reminds me of the opening to Madman, which is a good thing. When Carl isn’t stating is political propaganda or scaring local whippersnappers off of his property (which you do not want to trespass on), he’s passing the time by cooking his meat (no, that’s not an innuendo) with his half-sister, Rae Lynn (Theresa Holly here does a stellar job), or taking swigs of moonshine out of the jug with his friend Billy Wayne, who’s about as trust worthy as he appears to be. This guy seems like he’s just one strangled hooker away from making the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Yup, Carl sure knows how to live.

lothb_3Of course, his life isn’t all gravy. Speaking of gravy, he sure does miss his Pop’s gravy (again, not an innuendo) ever since he killed his wife then himself back when Carl was a boy, passing on his butcher knife. Rae Lynn does her best to fill in the lonely void by cooking and cleaning, but it’s just not enough. Haunting visions of a demon (called Sam Bakoo, but I can’t recall if this if ever mentioned) in his sleep wake Carl up that not even his decaying, skeletal girlfriends can help him get back to sleep. He decides to take drastic measures to bring back his parents by offering his blood and soul to the Devil, but that soul ain’t worth no damn. What is a man with a worthless soul to do?

Well, killing trespassers is one thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s stabbing young lovers or disemboweling the director dressed up as a drunk hick, they have no right being on his property! And besides, a man’s gotta eat. Each victim meets (or should I say “meats”) their end by Carl’s knife, as he guts them and cuts them up for meat and stringing it up from the ceiling in the basement, which his darling half-sister Rae Lynn cooks for them and Billy Wayne on occasion. Speaking of Billy Wayne, he is one available bachelor if you can believe it. He takes an interest in Rae Lynn and even asks her out on a date ever so elegantly. After one of the most sexiest montages I have ever seen of Rae Lynn trying on different dresses, they spend some time… somewhere in the woods (it doesn’t have to be specific), but the date quickly goes sour after Billy Wayne sucker punches poor Rae Lynn. But hey, she shouldn’t tease a man like that!

lothb_4While this is going on, Carl is seeing the ghost of an unknown young girl, Jesse, who tells him that his blood line is cursed and urges him to bury the knife. Could she mean that literally or is this one of them metaphors? Carl looks at this as a second chance and possibly a way to stop these haunting visions that look like they are out of a goth band’s music video. If I thought I was constantly envisioning Prodigy music videos, I would do anything to make them go away too. It’s also at about this time Rae Lynn stumbles across all Leatherface like decorations in the house, asking the burning question… how did it take her so long to see any of this?

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher reeks of 70’s and 80’s exploitation drive-in films and it smells wonderful. It has that certain atmosphere of dread in the wilderness, secluded in the open, yet there is a false state of serenity as you here the nearby creek babble and the insect population sings like a choir. The sometimes out of focus, fuzzy look, complete with dirt and scratches over the film gives it an aged look without making it too faux. However, there were times when I found the filters to be overbearing. For example, on occasion, there will be an orange burn mark in the upper left corner of the screen, varying in intensity, but at times it seems to be too intense and going on a bit too long (this never took away from my enjoyment of the movie though), which I did find to be a tiny bit distracting. Even the audio sometimes has a muffled sound to it at times. It’s these elements that remind me of films like Don’t Go in the Woods and The Forest. There’s a reason this won six awards, some from a genre new to me, Hixploitation and the enchanting actress Theresa Holly gets a well deserved award for Best Actress and I would even call her the Independent Movie Scream Queen.

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher
Best Retrosploiation Film? You betcha! It’s been awhile since we’ve seen something like this (or at least done well) and it’s welcoming to be reminded of cult camp movies that remind you of warm summer nights with possible terror lurking somewhere in the woods. Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher is an alluring, gory bio pic. Joaquin Montalvan certainly is a man who can do it all; writing, producing, directing and even doing the cinematography. This man is the reason this movie looks so damn good, so credit where credit is due. Of course, the rest of the cast and crew is great as well. This is one of the most engrossing independent films I have scene in a long time, so I would highly recommend giving this a watch, ya hear?

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Ghost stories ’round the campfire.
  • Swigging out of moonshine jugs.
  • Like father, like son.
  • A lover’s spat.
  • Sandwich wrapped fresh demon.
  • Ask a restaurant if they serve ‘long pig’.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

You get that there pretty red stuff and sum guts slopping ’round.

6

blood

BREASTS

Theresa Holly’s montage is something for the guys to oogle at, while Billy Wayne competes by walking around with his shirt unbuttoned most of the time.

9

beast

BEASTS

I would not recommend trespassing on the Jessup’s place!

7.6 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher”!

trailers

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Nov

Comments Off on Thankskilling: Rest Stop Review Edition

Tagline: Gobble, Gobble, Motherf****r!

Year: 2012 Runtime: 99 min

Director: Jordan Downey

Writer: Jordan Downey, Mike Will Downey, Kevin Stewart

Starring: Daniel Usaj, Joe Hartzler, Preston Altree

Thankskilling is a no-holds-barred commentary on current state of narrative in filmmaking. Nah, not really. In actuality it’s just a bunch of pre-teen pee-pee and poo-poo jokes, expressed with a master crudity no child could muster. It would not surprise me to learn it was based on the rantings of a drunken sailor who, after a black-out night, had been awoken with a fire hose only to find himself way up a tree in downtown Bangkok, naked. Oh, and suffering from a fresh, oozing STD.

I’m pretty sure there’s a story,  but it’s hidden under many levels of absurdist stuffing. Imagine [adult swim] high on kerosene fumes mixed with Meet the Feebles. Oh, and a throbbing STD.

The cast of characters: Turkie, space worms (one with a John Waters ‘stache), Muff the robot, Yomi the naked puppet girl thing, Yomi’s mind, Old Nasty Grandma Rapper, the turkey plucker 3000, undead turkeys and a couple of Pilgrim enthusiasts. Oh, and fart jokes which leave a greasy, burning discharge.

Who would want to see this? Troubled ten to fifteen year old boys, Tommy Wiseau restrained Clockwork Orange style and on LSD, or people on death row after exhausting all appeals (they would welcome death).

In it’s defense, I gave Thankskilling 3 two wedges of cheese because it was beautifully shot, and the special effects were impressive considering everything else on the screen. And on this holiday where one gives thanks for the many blessings he/she has, I am thankful for the DP, the equipment, and the special effects editor. Oh, and that I survived. Only just. I’ll be on dialysis for the rest of my life.

So, from all of us here on The Lost Highway, to all of you out there, we wish you a happy and disease-free Thanksgiving.

Roadside Attractions:

  • See Turkie’s chainsaw enhancement (think Alexander’s four-legged robot in Robot Jox)!
  • Be Amazed by the 1993 style video game fight between Wise Turkey and Turkie!
  • Hear lots of dub step music!
  • Loose I.Q. points and vocabulary thanks to the gratuitous potty language.
  • Cry Yourself to Sleep only to suffer horrific nightmares about the horny old nasty rapping Grandma.

Check out the trailer for “Thankskilling 3”

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