Archive for the 'foreign' Category

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posted by Doktor | March 15, 2017 | 70's b-movies, foreign, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi, Walk Thru

Comments Off on A Walk Thru The Humanoid (1979)

There is nothing controversial about the assertation: Star Wars is the most beloved space opera EVAR! Most beloved film ever, slightly controversial. Whatever the case, most of the world has seen it and many who have love it fanatically. As such, the franchise has made billions of dollars for its owners and has spawned other billion dollar industries. It amazes me that a work of fiction has done more economically, not to mention culturally, than some countries.

Before it became the juggernaut it is today, there was the influence it had on the film making community, an influence that spawned countless Star Warsploitation films. One such film is the subject of this month’s walk thru: The Humanoid (1979) by director George B. Lewis, who not only borrowed aspects from Star Wars but also co-oped a name very similar to George Lucas. I thought The Asylum was shameless. The director’s actual name is Aldo Lado, a name befitting an anagram master or a master “sampler” of other people’s work.

Oddly enough though, for all the appropriation in The Humanoid, the movie’s title doesn’t have the word “star” or “war” like most of the other Star Warsploitation films. I guess there was a line Lado wouldn’t cross after all, though I am scratching my head on that one.

That said, let’s see just how much Lado sampled in this walk thru of the 1979 spaghetti Star Warsploitation, The Humanoid:

Open: Space

Or, more precisely, open to various 1970s planetarium stills of space, accompanied by some Orbital-esque electronica. An expositive crawl is read by a lifeless voice, likely planetarium employee who loaned the background images. He recounts the story so far: Earth—now Earthopolis—is in a whole mess o’ trouble. Lord Growl has escaped from the prison-satellite where he was incarcerated and is seeking vengeance on his brother, Great Bruh, for imprisoning him.

The crawl disappears and… wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Eventually Lord Growl’s Sun Destroyer™ floats across the screen. A space police patrol ship races after the tardy Sun Destroyer. Hopped up on space machismo, they order the Sun Destroyer to pull over, copping some fake charges that the Sun Destroyer is flying in a space HOV lane with only a hundred henchmen on board, clearly violating Space Statute 4. Lord Growl, like NWA, has adopted a strict f$&k the police attitude and blows them up for their obvious racist bulls$&t.

Push into: Sun Destroyer

Lord Growl, a Rent-A-Center Darth Vader in black Samurai armor and helmet, monologues, “My brother has made his army bloated with peace!” Uninterested, the command crew keep about their business. After an uncomfortable silence Lord Growl growls, “How far are we from Earthopolis?”

“We are approaching gravity,” says Sun Destroyer pilot, Ensign Peon. (Ah, so in this version of the space future “gravity” is a unit of distance, which means this movie is in the tradition of strictly separating the science from science fiction.)

When they reach Earthopolis’s gravity Lord Growl commands his elite Squalltrooper™ strike team to launch. Their mission: grab the Crapatron and kill that Barbara Gibson.

(Wait. Barbara Gibson? The space future is populated with women named Barbara Gibson? Oh, right. This is a 1970s spaghetti Star Warsploitation. No one goes to the dollar cinema to actually watch this movie. The audience is either necking or using the back row as a toilet. My bad. Carry on.)

Cut to: Barbara at Work

Barbara works at Earthopolis Central, a building in the middle of the desert where people either wander around aimlessly or sit at randomly placed desks flipping switches, turning knobs, and watching blinky lights. Barbara is middle management, evidenced by her telling some flunky to “check the imprint,” before returning to her panel.

A call comes in for Barbara from Tom Tom, a pre-teen asian child who is… her son? Whatever the relation, he’s some kind of mentalist, chocked full of mini-chutneyans™, because he uses a Jeti Mind Ruse™ (which sounds like space jibber jabber) to get Barbara to leave work and come home. Incredibly it works. Barbara’s face droops into even less expression as she rises from her desk and mechanically walks away. At the outer gate, she guns her X-.5 Ground Speeder’s™ engine and pulls away just as Lord Growl’s elite Squalltroopers attack.

Earthopolis guards are no match for an assault by Stephen Hawking, much less competent soldiers (Squalltroopers can actually hit their targets). The security forces don’t even bother to look up when the Squalltroopers stroll in, despite obviously being there for nefarious reasons. (I know it’s not politically correct to stereotype, but they’re Rent-a-Center Tie Fighter Pilots: helmets that cover their faces, all that shiny black leather, and blaster rifles—come on!)

Once they’ve eliminated everyone, security forces and office staff, the Squalltroopers start on their first objective: scour Earthopolis Central for a container marked “K” for Crapatron. In the storage room, that is, a walk-in closet with 4 inset cabinets, the Squalltroopers find four containers, but are confounded because none of the containers are marked with a “K.” They rack their brains trying to decide which container has the Crapatron? (There’s only four containers, which could all be grabbed as there are four Squalltroopers, it’s not like they have to worry if they holster their guns because everyone is dead, but whatever). Kryten, lead Squalltrooper, remembers Lord Growl said the Crapatron might be in an odd shaped container. So they check each. One is round. One is square. The final is… octagonal. That’s it!

Or, wait. Did Lord Growl say it was possibly in a black container? Or maybe it was in Earthopolis West?

Moving hastily on…

(And, yes, I do realize that was only three containers when there was originally four! Don’t blame me, blame the movie.)

Cut to: Sun Destroyer

Back on the Sun Destroyer, Kryten admits to Lord Growl that they didn’t kill Barbara but they did get the Crapatron. Well… probably—fingers crossed behind his back. Lord Growl almost puts Laser Hands on Kryten, but that would involve special effects and Growl doesn’t want to spoil the Big Boss fight later, so instead he opts to punish Kryten. The punishment? Kryten loses of his privileges for 100 days. (No interwebs? Ouch! That’s why he’s known as Lord Growl The Unfair! His evil know no bounds.)

Cut to: Earthopolis

Princely Hero Nick (the dashing protagonist of the movie) visits the Grand Council of Bros Before Hoes. Great Bruh, leader of Earthopolis and Chugmaster Most Rad, is greatly disturbed by the Squalltroopers attack, yet is thankful Barbara survived. (She was the one he drank tequila shots from her… you know what, never mind.) Although the nuclear stockpiles were untouched the Grand Council of Bros Before Hoes calls for the security forces to “inflict death” on the enemies of Earthopolis—but only if necessary. (Oh! So that’s why they were such useless dorks. Before the special decree of Inflicting Death all the security forces could do was whimper, “Hey…” and shake a finger reproachfully.)

Cut to: Barbara’s House

As it turns out, Tom Tom called Barbara home to play video games. Well, kind of. Tom Tom is too busy reading to give his full attention to the game, which annoys Barbara to no end. Really?!? Tom Tom is such a dork! Does he want to grow up what for to be all smart and stuff?

Barbara, like the champ she is, asks Tom Tom for permission to cheat by consulting the computer (“it can solve 18 unknowns to the fourth power”). Even with the help of the computer, and Tom Tom being distracted, he manages to kick her butt with one move.

(Maybe Barbara should crack open a book now and again herself. At the very least read the cover of the book Tom Tom is reading—How to Win at Viddy Games Programmatically by Stephen Hawking. If she had done so maybe she might have had an inkling why Tom Tom was willing to let her use the computer to “cheat.”

All of this might have you wondering, so what? What’s going on here? Who is this Barbara and Tom Tom? The answer is discouraging: because script. The kicker: Tom Tom is Barbara’s pupil. Uhm. Okay. She’s as smart as a dusty gummy bear. Besides, she leaves him at home while she goes to work for Earthopolis Central at her… day job? What part of that makes any sense. Okay, never mind that, how about the bigger issue, namely Tom Tom being WAY smarter than Barbara—but so is a half-chewed eraser. So what exactly is she teaching him, and more importantly, why is he living with her? Thankfully, the movie never answers these questions).

The scene fizzles out just as Barbara asks Tom Tom why he had her leave work.

Cut to: The Planetarium

Great Bruh and Princely Hero Nick engage in exposition about Crapatron, it’s properties and how all the characters introduced thus far are connected. Crapatron is a space rock that can modify cell structure, transmuting a person into a “monstrosity with super human powers.” Barbara, whose managerial button pushing is scientific oversight in nature, discovered Professor Crapspin performing his evil experiments with Crapatron. She promptly reported her findings and Crapspin lost his funding, lab, and graduate students. In a move that would make Sherlock Holmes proud, Great Bruh deduces, if Crapatron was stolen it must have been Crapspin who was behind it. Moreover, because it was Barbara’s tattling which ruined Crapspin, she is obviously in danger.

Away, Princely Hero Nick! Save the damsel.

Cut to: Montage of Planetarium Show Slides

… with more Orbital-esque electronica.

(Uhm. Okay…)

Fade to: Space

The Sesquicentennial Pelican™, piloted by Jaws (the Bond villain not the shark, though the latter would have been way cooler), slides across the screen. Jaw is lost, the Pelican’s satellite navigation is down, and On Star won’t answer his space call. Lonesome and dejected, Jaws turns to his co-pilot, a robocur named UhOh 9, and grunt-mumbles, “Ugh, I’m having trouble. Ugh. It’s hard.” (or something like that, he’s hard to understand). UhOh 9 sits there, eye panel full of blinky lights, and whines and whines, and whines, and whines. (UhOh 9 is a half Aibo, half R2D2, half swap meet Chinese knock off in exactly those proportions, with a third the personality.)

Jaws continues grumbling and fiddling with knobs when one of the dials on the mixer-board—uhm, I mean, the control panel—showers him with sparks. Yet, just as he’s about to go full Eeyore, Lord Growl’s Sun Destroyer flies by.

He’s saved! Jaws pulls on his leather flying helmet—to protect his precious brain from all the space g’s he is about to pull—and makes a quick u-turn.

Cut to: Barbara’s House

Princely Hero Nick delivers the news of the stolen Crapatron and the likely attempt to kill Barbara that goes with it. Also that all her co-workers are dead, and she didn’t use the new cover letter on her last TPS report, which means she is subject to immediate termination.

All of which is incidental because Princely Hero Nick is more concerned with how Barbara is alive at all. How did she know to leave Earthopolis Centeral mere seconds before the attack? She tells him Tom Tom saved her; He had called her home.

Meanwhile, Tom Tom is outside talking to some strange performance artists cosplaying as Moon Knight. Barbara doesn’t know who they are, nor does she seem to care.

(Maybe it was because they were dressed in non-threatening white, or maybe in the space future there’s no such thing as stranger danger, but mostly it’s because she’s an idiot. Again, why is she his teacher/caretaker?)

When Tom Tom returns, Barbara asks him how he knew she needed to leave work. “A hunch,” he replies. Okay, that checks out. No need to pursue it further. Princely Hero Nick pulls Barbara away to talk more about the Crapatron.

Cut to: Space, Sun Destroyer

Lord Growl’s ship is approaching his home planet, Planet Knockoff. (Knockoff is appropriately named because it too is a desolate desert planet, exactly similar to Tatoo— Earthopolis.)

Down on the planet, Lady Agatha Chesty wrings her hands while her chesticles heave—all is not well.

Elsewhere, Professor Crapspin’s transparent iron maiden closes on a naked woman, sucking the life juice out of her (the clear plastic makes it possible to see her boobies while she’s being drained). This draining procedure is the cause of Lady Chesty’s anxiety: the life-juice extract is a cocktail she uses to stay young and beauty and endowed with full breasts.

Meanwhile, in the landing bay, peons mill about as the Sun Destroyer lands. Milling not just anywhere, but directly under where the ship is touching down.

(Minions. Sigh.)

There’s lots of walking and bowing to eat up runtime as Lord Growl marches to meet Professor Crapspin. Growl is eager to hear Crapspin’s plan to capture Earthopolis. Growl fears Earthopolis’s superior fighting forces, the same forces which have barely provided target practice for his Squalltroopers, but whatever (it’s in the script so just go with it).

Professor Crapspin lays out his scheme which involves using the Crapatron to make an army of “humanioids: indestructable human rowbits.” (Note: rowbits are some kind of genetically mutated monstrosities, or perhaps a mispronunciation of robots. Eh, either way, same difference.) With such an army under their control they’ll conquer the universe. In fact, they’ll probably be able to get that stinking Barbara Gibson, too.

Excellent.

Cut to: Space, Sesquicentennial Pelican

Jaws is still having problems with the ship because the blinky lights aren’t lighting in the proper order—or something. He tried turning the console off and on again with no luck. The only thing left for him to try is head back to the rear and “free up the positrons.”

(Ah, Jaws, come on man! Everyone knows you never free up the positrons. Freeing up the positrons always causes you to crash.)

Cut to: Professor Crapspin’s Lab

Or is that Crapspin, down on the planet surface, is pushing random levers that causes one to crash? Either way, the Sesquicentennial Pelican dives right into the drink.

Through his God Cam, Crapspin observes Jaws collecting himself after the crash. Crapspin is quite pleased with himself. Jaws is a perfect test subject for a Crapatron bomb. So, he calls Lord Growl and Lady Chesty to join him for a demonstration.

Cut to: The Crash Site

Jaws unloads UhOh 9 and goes back for his space… something-or-other. As he is doing so Crapspin’s missile is barreling down on the Sesquicentennial Pelican. UhOh 9 hides behind a rock as the missile hits, which destroys the Pelican. Jaws plods out of the water somehow in one piece—that is, except for his beard, which is now missing.

(The Crapatron warhead is some kind of anti-neutron bomb. It destroys non organic materials leaving the people unscarred. Well, that is, except their beards, which should be fine—and their clothes, which should be destoryed. Ugh. Whatever.

Leaving that mess for prosperity to work out, there is significance to the missing beard. A little known law of space science states when exposed to Crapatron a human will lose his or her beard. This loss is directly proportional to the gain of Indestructible Human Rowbit power. I think. My space science is a little rusty. I took it my freshman year of college and haven’t used it since, but for this movie that explanation is good enough.)

UhOh 9 whimpers at his transformed master (Jaws is now the Humanoid), peeking meekly from behind his safety rock. Humanoids have no uses for pets, mechanical or otherwise, so Humanoid backs away feigning ignorance of any connection to the robocur.

Professor Crapspin sends a couple squads of Squalltroopers to attack Humanoid to test his strength. They’re the Z team (because why waste good men, right?), but they still have their rifles, and still can hit the target, so they’re good enough for this job. Unfortunate for them Humanoid is laser burlet proof, negating their one advantage, resulting in the prompt butt stomping they receive.

Satisfied with the display, Crapspin drops a narcotic bomb to subdue Humanoid. They return to Crapspin’s lab where he implants a control Bindi on Humanoid’s forehead. Now all they have to do is complete the main Crapatron warhead and they’ll be ready to attack Earthopolis.

Cut to: Sun Destoryer

One week later the main Crapatron warhead is ready.

(Why one week? Because if it was ready immediately the movie would lose all credibility. Or something. Doesn’t matter. It’s not like this movie, or the audience, cares.)

So with the Crapatron warhead ready, Lord Growl loads up the Sun Destroyer and heads back to Earthopolis to exact his revenge.

Cut to: Outskirts of The City

They drop Humanoid just outside The City, poke him with a sharpened stick to rile him up, and escape back into orbit to watch the hilarity.

The Earthopolis Defense Force is as worthless as ever, despite their new orders to “inflict death.” Bless their useless hearts for trying. Although they clearly see Humanoid is laser burlet proof, they keep shooting him. The collateral damage from the ricocheting laser burlets is more significant than the damage caused by Humanoid. Worse still, when he lumbers up on a squad of officers they go in hand-to-hand resulting in piles of dead. (You just know the sanitation crews are rushing to call in vacation days.)

Somewhere along the way Humanoid drops his wallet. The Earthopolis Defense Force recovers it. Finally, they have a name: Goloid. A quick DMV check turns up that he’s no one of importance, a space garbage truck driver, but at least they have a name—because… whatever.

Cut to: Earthopolis Central

In the fracas Great Bruh escapes The City to the safety of Earthopolis Central. (How is a office building on the outskirts of town a safer hiding place for Great Bruh? Becuase the script.) Little does Great Bruh know but nowhere is safe. You see, Professor Crapspin has “synthesized” on Great Bruh’s “magnetic field,” allowing him to pinpoint Great Bruh no matter where he goes. (Space science.)

While Great Bruh is checking his twitter feed, Goloid the Humanoid walks through the guards stationed outside. There’s no need for alarm because Princely Hero Nick has a full-proof Plan B: a hydraulic trap to crush Goloid the Humanoid. Great Bruh acts as bait, luring Goloid the Humanoid down the hallway and into the mashing chamber (a hydraulic hammer crusher like the ones used to smash car at junk yards). When Goloid the Humanoid steps into the crushinator, Great Bruh and Princely Hero Nick, stationed in the next room, throw the switch.

(Wait, wait, wait… What kind of idiot designs an industrial crushing machine inside a building and makes you walk THROUGH it to get to the control room? Do they not have safety managers in the space future? That’s an insurance NIGHTMARE just waiting to happen. What’s more, what kind of business is this that requires a mashing chamber? I mean, I understand that “it’s in the script” but this is giving off all kinds of mixed messages. A mashing chamber is a pretty sinister device for a peaceful planet.)

Another side-effect of the Crapatron mutation not mentioned earlier is being mash proof. Combined with being crazy strong, Goloid the Humanoid slips past the booby trap. He subdues Princely Hero Nick by pushing him aside like a horse lazily swatting a fly, which knocks him unconscious. Then, just as Goloid the Humanoid has Great Bruh in a choke hold, Professor Crapspin changes his command to “kill Barbara Gibson.”

(What?!? Ugh, the script is really nothing more than a contrivance at this point.)

Unfortunately, Barbara left Earthopolis Central to gather her anti-Crapatron poisioning files, which are at her house. Goloid the Humanoid shuffles off to get her, knowing where to go because presumably Professor Crapspin has “synthesized” on Barbara’s “magnetic field.”

Cut to: Sun Destroyer

Lord Growl commands the pilot to fly causally, staying just out of space radar range so he can observe Humanoid’s progress.

(Thanks, movie.

No, seriously, thank you. Normally that thank you would be sarcastic, but at this point the movie has been all over the place and I’m not sure what’s going on. My intelligence drops wildly from scene to scene, so much so that I have no idea if Lord Growl is still the villain bent on revenge or a blithering moron sniffing his fingers after exploratory butt scratching.)

Cut to: Barbara’s House

Barbara is looking for the anti-Humanoid salve but she’s too late. Goloid the Humanoid wanders up to the house and strolls right in. He doesn’t even need to knock because Barbara has set her front door to automatically open when anyone walks up.

In another show of her infinite brilliance, she runs behind the glass door to her bedroom to hide. (In her defense, the glass is frosted and interior doors aren’t set to automatically open, so… yeah.) When Goloid the Humanoid busts through the glass Kool-Aid Man style, Barbara goes to plan B: run into her jacuzzi bath to disorient him. The theory goes something like this: she’s an attractive woman with a Coppertone tan wearing a white linen dress, the tub is full of water, and when the two are mixed the resulting “show” will appeal to Goloid the Humanoid’s dumb-stick and his resulting pig fantasies will distract him. Too bad yet another not mentioned side-effects of Crapatron exposure is chemical castration, rendering Goloid the Humanoid impervious to Wet White Linen Distraction Attacks.

Luckily, as Goloid the Humanoid grabs Barbara, Tom Tom uses his Jeti Mind Ruse to stop him. Freed, Barbara runs off, leaving Tom Tom to deal with the mess. As crappy a move as that is, Tom Tom actually has everything under control. He mostly de-humanoidifies Goloid the Humanoid, employing some “wax on, wax off” hand motions. Goloid the Humanoid is only “mostly” cured in that the control Bindi disappears. Otherwise, he is still a mute, indestructible rowbit.

Cut to: Desert

Meanwhile, Barbara frantically searches the deserted desert around her house for help. (A top scientist and teacher, huh?) As she’s searching she runs into a squad of Squalltroopers looking for Goloid the Humanoid. They tracked him to this part of the desert before they lost the signal from his control Bindi. As always Tom Tom comes to the rescue. Well, the werid performance artists from eariler do, but at Tom Tom’s request so he gets credit. They’re armed with bows that shoot laser arrows, and because they are the good guys, they shoot the Squalltroopers in the back.

Cut to: Barbara’s House

Goloid the Humanoid is waiting at the front door for Barbara and Tom Tom to return. He’s so happy to see them that he grunts, “Bar… bah… rah…”

They patronize him with some, “Good boy, Goloid. Good boy!” encouraging words.

Tom Tom uses the Farze to conjure up images of Lord Growl and Professor Crapspin with Barbara’s help. (Wow! She is capable of doing something useful, even if it’s simply using her imagination to project images.) Goloid the Humanoid recognizes them with a scowl, prompting Barbara to ask what planet they are on. Goloid the Humanoid grumbles, “Kn… ock… off.”

(What a good boy, Goloid. You get a Humanoid snack!)

Barbara rushes off to tell Great Bruh and promptly gets kidnapped. Who’d have thunk that Lord Growl would send a SECOND squad of Squalltroopers?

Goloid the Humanoid watches the ship with Barbara fly away as tears spill from his eyes. Even Tom Tom and the Guardian Performance Artist Archers are powerless to stop the ship’s escape, but whatever. The important thing is Goloid the Humanoid is crying. For some reason his tears are reassuring to Tom Tom.

Cut to: Sun Destroyer

Back on Sun Destroyer, the Squalltroopers deliver Barbara to Lord Growl, despite their standing orders to kill her. Because the mission was a resounding failure—Goloid the Humanoid defected before he could kill Barbara and Great Bruh—,Lord Growl leaves to regroup on Planet Knockoff.

Cut to: The City

Princely Hero Nick, Great Bruh, Goloid the Humanoid, and Tom Tom brainstorm plans to rescue Barbara and get back the Crapatron. A small strike team, i.e. Princely Hero Nick, is deemed most likely to succeed. (Sure, why not? It’s only the whole of Lord Growl’s forces he’ll be going up against.) Goloid the Humanoid volunteers to go, too. With the big galoot on board, Great Bruh remarks, “Now I know there’s hope.”

(So much for having faith in Princely Hero Nick, Great Bruh. Not that anyone else has faith, but you didn’t have to crush his spirit by saying that right to his face.)

Taking cue from Spritel, Tom Tom sneaks on Sesquicentennial Pelican Mark 2. Thus Team Hero 7 is complete.

Cut to: Planet Knockoff

Barbara is taken to Cell Block TK, Cell 427, at the very back of the building, which allows for lots of walking and looking evil. After securing Barbara, Lord Growl interrogates Professor Crapspin about Goloid the Humanoid’s failure. Crapspin blames the control Bindi, which must have fallen off, but it was not his fault. The good Indian glue is expensive, and because he was excommunicated Earthopolis is off limits… so he had to use Elmer’s, and… well, he’ll do better next time.

Cut to: Sesquicentennial Pelican Mark 2

As Hero Team 7 close in on Planet Knockoff a wave of enemy fighters engages them. Tom Tom pilots; Princely Hero shoots. Pew pew pew. Lord Growl’s fighters blowses up.

(I make it sound more exciting than it actually is.)

After destroying the first wave, the elite fighter attacks with “hyper galactic stellar ray,” but the Pelican Mark 2 has gooder shields. Princely Hero Nick returns fire and the elite ship explodes so hard both Tom Tom and Princely Hero Nick are knocked unconscious by the concussion. Also, the Pelican Mark 2 is sent into the exact same tail spin the original Pelican experienced when it came into range of Planet Knockoff. (This is known as “if you’ve got the footage, use it” or the Roger Corman school of filmmaking.) Goloid the Humanoid is unaffected by concussions so he is able to crash the Pelican Mark 2 safely. (He’s nothing if not consistent.)

Cut to: Desert, Planet Knockoff

Goloid the Humanoid and Tom Tom pull Princely Hero Nick out of the wreckage and open up his shirt to let his chest breathe. Uncomfortable and needing an adult, Princely Hero Nick jerks awake with a gasp. Thankfully UhOh 9 wanders up, disrupting their ancient Greek moment.

Goloid the Humanoid squinches up his face trying to work out why the robocur is familiar. When it comes to him, Goloid the Humanoid is happier than a dog at a dirty underwear convention. They hug and beep and grunt and blink. UhOh 9 is so excited he can hardly control himself. Not because of Goloid the Humanoid, but because there’s something he wants to show them: Lord Growl’s base.

Cut to: Lord Growl’s Base

There are two guards at the entrance to the base, a telephone booth sized structure in the middle of the desert. UhOh 9 draws the guards around one side, allowing Goloid the Humanoid, Tom Tom, and Princely Hero Nick to slip in behind them. UhOh 9 races around and gets in before the guards can make it around themselves. Once Hero Team 7 are all inside they close the door, completely defeating the guards.

(This is why I harp on the importance of training all guards in proper door opening techniques. Henchmen are notorious dolts. Also, it’s a good idea to outfitted guards with communication devices.)

Meanwhile, inside the base Professor Crapspin is loading the big missile with Crapatron. He explains to us… I mean, the audience… I mean, Lord Growl and Lady Agatha Chesty… that this missile will infect everyone on Earthopolis, making them an unstoppable army of humaniods. (Thanks. We remember all that from earlier. But there is a question: what about control Bindis? Without them they’ll be uncontrol— eh, never mind.)

Hero Team 7 watch the exposition from the safety of a suspended walkway high above the warehouse floor. (In the space future human hearing has greatly evolved, which is convenient evolutionary trait because now Hero Team 7 knows the plan and can focus on rescuing Barbara.)

Squalltroopers might be good shots as far as movie goons go, but they are blessed with the usual intelligence: namely, they’re raging morons. As Hero Team 7 is sneaking through the service corridors, UhOh 9 manages to distract yet another set with the Roll By Casually Disorientation Maneuver.

Eventually though, as good as UhOh 9 is, each hero has to shows his special skills. (What kind of action film would it be without a display of sweet skills?) Tom Tom uses the Farze to Jeti Mind Ruse some. Goloid the Humanoid uses his fists to knocks a couple out and tosses a couple others in the air—which also knocks them out. Princely Hero Nick executes some dope Kung Fool moves, but only manages to disarm the guards. Luckily Goloid the Humanoid is there to save him.

Meanwhile, Barbara is put into the transparent iron maiden, except she gets to keep her clothes because she’s a big star. Hero Team 7 arrive just in time to stop the iron maiden’s needles from poking Barbara. Professor Crapspin, Lord Growl, and Lady Chesty look on stupidly. Once Barbara is safe, Crapspin sends in the Squalltroopers. A lot of good they are because Princely Hero Nick guns them down as they come through the door.

Having distracted Hero Team 7, Crapspin turns on the narcotic gas and escapes with Growl and Lady Chesty. He is confident their problems are solved, and they would be, that is, if UhOh 9, who happens to be right there in the room, and who is immune to the gas, doesn’t roll over to the control panel and bump the off button.

(Guess what happens? )

Cut to: Hanger

Meanwhile, in the hanger Lady Chesty pitches a major hissy because she hasn’t had her life juice today. Professor Crapspin gives her a V8 to tide her over, promising her an infusion of the good stuff once they’re safely on the Sun Destroyer.

Otherwise goons and Squalltroopers mill about listlessly, which is odd for a base on high alert for intruders, as well as supposedly preparing for a major offensive, but whatever.

Before the villains head to the ship, Crapspin sets the final countdown, which in the real world means a timer but in this movie it means the pre-thrusters on the rocket start firing—running continuously, even while technicians are still working on the rocket!

Cut to: Pew Pew Pew

The big battle. Despite numbering in the thousands, the Squalltroopers don’t stand a chance against Hero Team 7. Even UhOh 9 gets in on the fight. He utilizes his Diarrhea-Slick Attack, which is exactly what its name suggests: he squirts some mustard colored juice from his hindquarters that causes the Squalltroopers to slip and fall, which, of course, knocks them out.

(Man, Squalltroops are really fragile.)

Naturally, most of the fight falls on Goloid the Humanoid’s strong shoulders. And why not? He is laser burlet proof and super strong. (In fact, he’s so awesome that it’s like he’s enabled God mode. Why should the others risk themselves? Besides, there’s only a few minutes of runtime left. Let the unstoppable rowbit get it over with already.) As a bonus, by engaging God mode Goloid the Humanoid now has the sweet finishing move: Pole Throw Decapitation Attack, which he uses to drop eight Squalltroopers that just happen to be lined up perfectly.

And, of course, when things look grim, i.e. Goloid the Humanoid is busy elsewhere, there’s Tom Tom’s two Guardian Performance Artist Archers. (There in a pinch to shoot people in the back.)

Meanwhile, sequestered in a corner for safety, Lady Chesty melts from lack of life juice. Thus freed of her incessant nagging, Lord Growl jumps on the Sun Destroyer and makes to bug out. Unfortunately one of the boxes on the lift slips and jams the loading ramp open. He’s not worried. He’ll send a peon down to fix it later when they’re in the safety of space.

Naturally, Princely Hero Nick uses the gap to sneak in for…

Cut to: Final Boss Battle

In the Sun Destroyer, Lord Growl’s escape is thwarted because everyone is out fighting. He can’t pilot the ship alone, but he can face Princely Hero Nick!

He uses Laser Hands, a Black Side of the Farze power. Laser Hands has two modes of attack: first, Laser Judo Chop which works for melee attacks; second, Laser Burlet Fingers for ranged attacks. Lucky for Princely Hero Nick, Lord Growl is the exact opposite of the Squalltroopers as far as fighting is concerned. The only thing Lord Growl manages to hit is the control panels, which are destroyed, completely negating any chance of escape, even if Lord Growl did managed to kill Princely Hero Nick and get some peons to pilot for him.

After several minutes of scene destruction (special effects to add production value), Goloid the Humanoid sneaks up behind Lord Growl and squeezes him so hard he disappears, a la Obie Wan or Yoda.

(Huh. I guess there was some good in Lord Growl.)

To help further differentiate Growl’s death from the obvious Jedi death rip-off, Tom Tom’s spirit materializes to explain that Lord Growl was evil incarnate and evil and good are always in constant battle, neither can ever be destroyed completely blah, blah, blah… Whatever. Tom Tom disappears.

Without Lord Growl to hold the base together, everything starts to explode. Barbara, Princely Hero Nick, Tom Tom and UhOh 9 race to escape. Goloid the Humanoid grabs the Crapatron warhead from the rocket.

Cut to: Desert Outside Lord Growl’s Base

Goloid the Humanoid carries the warhead to a nearby lake and jumps in with it. The water ignites the warhead. (Good thing he stopped and grabbed the warhead, otherwise it would have been destroyed and buried in the base explosion.) Barbara, Princely Hero Nick, Tom Tom and UhOh9 cry because of the sacrifice of their dear friend—of the last half hour.

But… what’s this? Goloid the—human!—emerges from the water complete with his beard, memory, and humanity in tact. For some reason when he was bombarded with MORE Crapatron he became human again. (Or was it the blast from the bomb knocked the Crapatron out of him? Eh, who cares, the movie is almost over so just go with it.)

Then, just when things couldn’t get any stupider, they get stupiderer: a crystal Viking ship floats up with the two Guardian Performance Artist Archers to take Tom Tom back to the Grayhaven, or ancient Tibet, or Denny’s.

UhOh 9 squeak-barks happily while Barbara takes Princely Hero Nick and Goloid’s hands.

Aw! Happy ending.

The end crawl/narrator tells us: “Once again planet Earth had narrowly escaped disaster. Once again, it had found in itself the intelligence, the insight and the strength to repel a mortal enemy. Once again, man was to live at peace in the galaxy.”

The End

roadside attractions

  • REALIZE! names like Nick and Barbara are futurific!
  • WATCH! Richard “Jaws” Kiel own the role of a lumbering, inhuman rowbit!
  • WITNESS! Barbara “Agent XXX” Bach’s low cut top do all the acting for her!
  • MEAR! Marco Yeh spout jibberish in an attempt to sound like a learned space Buddhist!
  • MARVEL! At UhOh 9’s Diarrhea Slick Attack!
totals

5 blood  

BLOOD

There’s not much by way of blood, but there’s plenty of laser burlets which would have caused blood if’n they hadn’t cauterized the wounds, right?

2 blood  

BREASTS

One quick flash, odd for a 70s exploitation flick.

 

10 beast  

BEASTS

Richard Kiel. No special defect make-up necessary.

 

OVERALL 5.666
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Watch the trailer for “The Humanoid”

trailers

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Dec

posted by Doktor | December 25, 2016 | 50's b-movies, foreign, Review by Doktor, Walk Thru

Comments Off on A Walk Thru Santa Claus (1959)

Today is Xmas, the most wonderful time of the year: a time when everything is perfect, when all boys and girls are well behaved, when man loves his fellow man (and woman, etc, etc.), when dogs and cats snuggle together in peaceful harmony, when fruit cake is a delicious confectionary treat, the time of the year when one’s soul cannot help but sing at the beatitude of the day. Or is it the worst wonderful time of the year: a time when everything is horrible, when all boys are girls are devils, when man loathes his fellow man (and woman, etc, etc.), when dogs and cats fight viciously for dominance, when fruit cake is a chunk of disgusting, the time of the year when one crawls into the darkest of corners and prays for death?

For René Cardona it was the latter. Granted, it was the late 1950s, a simpler time all around, and Cardona was in Mexico, which was a land in an unparalleled Golden Age, all of which likely influenced Santa Claus, also known as Santa Claus vs. The Devil, to fall on the happy-go-lucky side of the spectrum. Or maybe the world really is a candy cane dream in the waning days of the year. Whichever end of the spectrum your feelings on this matter fall into join me for this month’s walk thru where we’ll see if Santa Claus is naughty or nice.

Open: Crystal & Gold Space Palace

High above the North Pole, way out in space, is Santa’s crystal and gold Space Palace. Within, Santa cackles madly as he arranges his nativity scene but soon remembers that he has to make presents for “good children” of the world. He tells the nativity scene as much, and that he mustn’t be late, to which it replies, “…,” because it’s NOT REAL. Undisturbed by this psychotic episode, Santa heads straight to his Hammond Organ to play a jaunty Xmas ditty. The organ has a built in video feed to “Toyland”, Santa’s sweatshop, erhm… toy factory. (Despite being the late 1950s, a time before trophies for all for simply participating, Santa’s P.R. team suggested the name Toyland. Toyland tested well, especially considering all the laborers are small children).

As Santa mashes away at the keys we watch the equal opportunity enslavement at Toyland. There are children from: Africa (half naked, bones in hair, banging drums—Toyland’s equal in conscripted service but still very backwards where race is concerned), Spain, China, England, Japan, Orient (Arabs), Russia, France (whom get special treatment, i.e. names other than “Hey, You”: Evette and Pierre), Germany, Italy, Caribbean, South America (Brazil and Argentina, the only countries in South America), Central America, USA, and finally, Mexico.

Hey, isn’t Mexico part of Central America?

SHUT UP!

Actually, to suggest this is a sweatshop is my cynicism. Actually, the children aren’t working at all. Toyland is a big room where they’re forced to stay in their ethnic groups and sing traditional songs from their respective homelands.

After all the different groups have finished their lamentations, the children bring Santa a devil toy. The doll has fireworks built into its buttocks which, when lit, causes it to spin around.

Cut to: Hell

In Hell all the devils are interpretive dancers, spinning around wildly like they’ve got a bottle rockets jammed in the buttocks. Wow! Here I was thinking this was going to be a sugar-coated, white-washing but this movie really nails Hell.

Thankfully, after only a few seconds, Lucifer has had enough and calls an end to this dancing tomfoolery, sending all the demons away in a flash, that is, all but Pitch, his chief demon. Lucifer has a special job for Pitch. He is to go up to Earth to cause a mother loving ruckus, Wu Tang Style. Should he fail again (how exactly is he chief demon if he fails all the time?) he will not have hot coals for dinner, he will be served ice cream—chocolate ice cream.

Ah, GAWD! The devil truly is vile.

Cut to: Earth, Mexico City

A cackling animatronic Santa Claus gyrates in a store window, outside of which is a throng of people, mostly children, staring in at all the wonderful things they are too poor to afford. Among the unwashed mass are five children of particular interest: Good Little Boy, whose daddy is rich but negligent, Lupita, whose mother is poor but loving, and three rude boys, the Bad Brothers, whose parents are… ?

Pitch magically produces three rocks from the ground and gives one to each of the Bad Brothers. Without any prompting, and despite the large crowd to witness them, the hooligans throw their rocks through the store window. One hits the animatronic Santa, another slices and hits a Salvation Army bell ringer, the third goes so far off the mark it breaks the Earth’s atmosphere, rockets to Santa’s palace, ultimately hitting Santa in the forehead.

Cut to: Magic Observatory

Santa’s “Magic Observatory” houses the specialized spy gear he uses to look and listen in on anyone on Earth: the Ear-o-scope, the Teletalker (which knows everything), the Cosmic Telescope, and the Master Eye.

First Santa checks on Lupita. She’s wandering around the market with her mother taking in the festivities, dreaming about a dolly of her very own. As luck would have it, one of the vendors is selling dolls, and as she picks one up to hug, squeeze, and love, the vendor is swarmed by customers. Lupita starts to walk away with the doll but before she walks too far off she returns it. Santa is pleased and the narrator remarks, “If you’re good, somehow you’ll be rewarded.”

Ah, there’s the sugar-sweet reality!

Cut to: Good Little Rich Boy’s House

Next Santa invades the dream of Good Little Rich Boy with the Dream-o-scope. Good Little Rich Boy is dreaming of his Xmas presents. Huge gifts so big they dwarf the Xmas tree. Rich people get extravagant presents so naturally Good Little Rich Boy’s gifts are… his PARENTS!?! Awww. Good Little Rich Boy only wants their love, not more things. You’re such a good little Good Little Rich Boy! Again, Santa is pleased, though a little sad. He sighs, “A dream is a wish that the heart makes.”

Ugh. The movie is laying on the sweet so bit thick my cavities were hurting.

The touchy-feels do not last too long, because before Santa’s helpers could roll their eyes, Santa turns his gaze to Lupita.

Cut to: Lupita’s One Room Shack

Lupita is lying on the bed, shivering. Her family is so poor they don’t know how to use the blanket. After watching Lupita twitch uncomfortably for a while, Poor Father finally covers Lupita with his jacket. Pitch appears bedside and blows on the sleeping girl, one hopes to influence her dreams. Although I know this film was made in a simpler time, watching a man in red tights blow on a small girl trying to sleep triggered me something fierce.

In her dream Lupita is the center of a nightmare world thick with smoke-machine fog and populated with creepy adult-sized, dual-faced dancing dolls. The dolls swirl around Lupita. If this is Pitch’s idea of tempting Lupita to steal a doll it’s not working. She can hardly see what is happening; her head is only slightly above the smoke. If she were able to see what was happening it would scare her off of dolls for good.

Cut to: Under a Bed

Santa turns his attention to the Bad Brothers. They’re speaking so softly he has to employ the Ear-o-scope, which in the preceding scenes was the Dream-o-scope, but… whatever. They are making nefarious plans which include breaking their neighbor’s window in order to steal his toys. They “could” be good and get toys from Santa legitimately, but there’s no fun in that. Instead, they decide to write Santa a letter and lie, saying they’ve been good so they can get presents. What they don’t realize is Santa is snooping on them. Disgusted by what he hears, Santa uses the Cosmic Telescope to amplify his voice so he can tell them that he has heard they’re scheming.

Cut to: Montage of Children Writing Letters

Good Little Rich Boy is writing a letter to Santa asking for time with Mama and Papa. Another boy wants a little brother although he’s sitting at the dinner table with three other boys and two girls. A third boy, in bed in the orphanage, wants a Papa, or maybe a Mama. A fourth boy dressed like a businessman, sitting behind a big desk, asks for some toys. (Finally, a child asking for toys. Come on, Cardona! Even in a sappy world children want toys.) Then a little girl asks for a red ball—a big, red ball—and some shoes. Last, and very much least, the Bad Brothers are composing their letter about how good they’ve been and in return they want “everything.” Not only are they bad, their not very bright. Santa JUST told them he knew what they were about. Well, at least their consistent.

All the letters written, the sifting-through-the-letters-at-the-post-office montage starts. Letters to Santa are thrown in a big chimney which shoots them directly to Santa’s Space Palace a la pneumatic tubes, sans the tubes. Santa sorts the letters into one of three boxes according to the letter writer’s standing: a box for the good children, a box for the bad children, and a box marked Paris for the children who want little brothers or sisters.

Paris?

Cut to: Merlin’s Workshop

Santa drops in on Merlin.

Wait. Merlin?

Merlin, we are told via the narrator, is Santa’s most devoted helper. Santa needs Merlin to makes a powder to knock out the children and give them happy dreams. (Remember, it’s the 1950s, and this behavior was not suspicious at all.) Merlin bumbles around, refers to himself in the third-person, by name, reciting the recipe for the sleep powder as he makes it: one urn made of copper, nickel, uranium, plutonium, and platinum; add 8 scoops of rose colored pollen of moon flower; 9 scoops of pollen from Lazy Yawner flower; 4 scoops of red pollen from Morpheus plant; powder from the Papalusa Grata (space butterflies); and finally take the mixture and urn and freeze with the Light Blue Flame of Frozen Fire. Viola, Kiddie Roofie Powder.

Merlin also gives Santa the Flower to Dissapear, incase the knockout powder isn’t sufficient. One sniff to disappear. One sniff to reappear.

Cut to: Blacksmith’s Workshop

Santa drops in on the blacksmith to get the golden key to unlock all doors.

Cut to: Santa’s Gym

Santa hits the gym to work on his gut. He has to make sure he’s slim enough to fit down all those chimneys. His ”work out” consists of 5 seconds on a belt-driven belly shaker machine. Though satisfied after only seconds, he goes to the test chimney and, yep, he’s trim enough to fit, with even some room to spare.

Take that, Science, what do you know!

Cut to: The Sleigh

The children have finished making the toys, or singing, or whatever it is that they have been doing. Now they’re gassing up the reindeer and cleaning the sleigh to make it more aerodynamic for the long space trip to Earth. Speed is of the essence because Santa has to return to the Space Palace before sun up. Fun Fact: sunlight turns space reindeer into dust. Granted, the sun never “sets” in space, but…

SHUT UP!

Cut to: Space

On the way to Earth Santa almost crashes into the moon.

Hey, I thought Santa lived in space above the North Pole.

SHUT UP!

Cut to: Earth

Good Little Rich Boy parents leave him at home alone with the intent of not returning until the morning. The Bad Brothers are lying in wait, ready to whack Santa when he lands on their rooftop. Lupita is watching the people in the street outside her shack’s window.

Santa’s first stop is Mexico City. In fact, he never leaves Mexico for the rest of the movie, but that makes sense because Mexicans are God’s chosen people, why would he go anywhere else? At the first house Pitch pushes the chimney so Santa can’t get into the house. This is no problem because Santa just goes down to the front door and uses the Master Golden Key. While fidgeting with with the door Santa wakes the two boys who live there, necessitating he drug them before he proceeds to put out their gifts. When he finishes he has to use the Flower to Dissapear to transport back up to the sleigh since the chimney is not an option.

Hey, wait a minute. Since when did the Flower to Dissapear do that?

SHUT UP!

At the next stop Pitch lights a fire in the chimney to block Santa’s entry that way. He also heats up the door knob so Santa will burn himself if he tries that work-around again. Pitch does not realize Santa’s watching his machinations from the window and just sneaks in that way. While Pitch is preoccupied keeping the door knob hot, Santa shoots a dart in Pitch’s buttock using the cannon toy he was leaving for one the little boy of the house.

Ho, ho, ho! Yule shoot something out, kid!

Cut to: Good Little Rich Boy’s House

Good Little Rich Boy plays the piano as his mother suggested should he should find himself lonely. Well, he plays for 5 seconds. Then he slumps his way over to the chair in front of the fire where falls asleep thinking about all his toys but how all he wants is his parent’s love.

Tough luck, kid. Although Santa knows what’s troubling you, all he is bringing you is more toys.

Before he leaves, Santa uses his Inception power to pass a message into Good Little Rich Boy’s dream, i.e. he wakes Good Little Rich Boy and says, “Your parents definit— well, they probab— that is, I’m pretty sure your parents like you alright. Don’t think about how they’ve got better things to do than spend time with you. Look at this! Here are some toys!”

Cut to: Neglectful Rich Parents at The Club

Neglectful Rich Parents are served the special, ham-fisted cocktail called “The Cocktail of Remembrance”. The waiter is familiar. Big belly, jolly, long white beard, he reminds Neglectful Rich Mom of someone from her youth. Oh well, bottoms up.

“Oh, Snap! We left our pre-teen child at home alone. We’re horrible parents.”

Ho, ho, ho! Yes. You are.

Cut to the Bad Brothers’ Rooftop

The Bad Brothers are lying in wait for Santa. Pitch is firing them up, not that he needs to considering they are already hatching their evil intentions.

Santa shoots by in fireball form, never setting down, never giving the boys a chance to realize their plan. The boys tire quickly waiting for Santa, whom they don’t realize has already passed them by, and turn in for the night. Inside they find their shoes filled with coal. Wow! Santa can magically drop off gifts to people without leaving the sleigh. Nifty.

Hmmm. That raises the question, why doesn’t he do that at all the stops?

SHUT UP!

Well, at least the Bad Brother will be warm tonight by the fire of the coal. Thanks Santa! Not so fast though, boys. The night’s still young and Pitch is furious at missing another opportunity to cause mayhem. So he sets the Bad Brothers against one another. If Pitch cannot get Santa he will get a grudge match out of the Bad Brothers.

Cut to: Another Stop

While Santa is delivering the toys, Pitch tries to steal the sleigh. Unfortunately he can’t get it started. Even if he could, Santa always locks down the reindeer antlers with The Club. Still, Pitch is determined, so he stows away, lying in wait for Santa’s return. As Santa leaves for the next stop, Pitch cuts the bottom of Santa’s bag, emptying the Kiddie Roofie Powder and the Flower to Dissapear.

Cut to: The Final Boss Stop

Pitch is waiting anxiously because he knows Santa is powerless without the Kiddie Roofie Powder and the Flower to Dissapear. At this house he will finally get satisfaction. Pitch looses a vicious Boxer dog, Dante, on Santa. Santa barely escapes by running up a tree.

With Santa’s trapped, Pitch goes through the house waking everyone, warning them there’s an assassin in the yard. He also influences a couple of the sleeping family members to call the police and fire department.

Back in the tree, Santa calls to Merlin for help. Merlin advices Santa to use a cat toy to distract Dante. Dante chases after the cat, allowing Santa to escape, but just barely. The family, the cops, the fire department, the ambulance, and some random people all show up as Santa flies away. Though there’s no flames, the firemen randomly spray a corner of the house which hits Pitch, dispersing him in a puff of steam.

Though Santa has escaped Pitch’s final trap safely it is almost daybreak and Santa has one final stop! Yet, if he does not head home the toy reindeer will turn into dust.

Oh no!

Cut to: Lupita’s One Room Shack

Meanwhile, the Flower to Dissapear falls to the ground at Lupita’s hovel. It does not matter that it has because it’s never mentioned again. For some reason Cardona just wanted to mention the Flower to Disappear one last time. You’d think Santa would stop to pick it up since Lupita’s shack is the final stop, but whatever.

Besides, the Flower to Disappear fell to the ground several scenes back, nowhere near Lupita’s. What’s up with that?

SHUT UP!

Inside, Poor Father has just made it home. He was out all night but found no work.

Really? Looking for a job, overnight, on Xmas eve/Xmas day. That’s your story? Poor Mother believes him. Moron. This is why you’re family is poor.

Unable to sleep in the presence of such stupidity, Lupita wakes. She tells Poor Mother and Poor Father that Santa left her a gift on the stoop in her dream. She goes out and finds a pretty doll. Somehow Lupita now has a magic connection with Santa which allows her to narrate what he is doing, namely returning home.

Cut to: Space

Once again in fireball mode, Santa rockets towards his crystal and gold space palace.

The End

Moral of the story: Santa Claus was very, very bad.

roadside attractions

  • HEAR! Pitch mispronounce Dante as dan-TEE!
  • WONDER! why Santa’s flight to Earth goes past Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn when the Crystal & Gold Palace is in orbit above the North Pole!
  • MARVEL! that any toys are made in a factory of children who sit around singing all day!
  • FORGET! the rest of the world! Santa only visits Mexico!
  • QUESTION! if we really want Santa to have all the intrusive powers of observation, even if he does bring us toys!
totals

2 blood  

BLOOD

None of the spurting variety, but Pitch does take a dart in the butt.

0 blood  

BREASTS

Come on! This is a film for the childrens!

 

10 beast  

BEASTS

Interpretive Dancing Demons, Adult-sized Dancing Dolls, and Vicious Attacker Dog

 

OVERALL 4
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Watch the trailer for “Santa Claus”

trailers

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Apr

posted by Doktor | April 15, 2016 | 70's b-movies, foreign, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Cosmos: War of the Planets

Canoodling

Have you ever been hit in the face with a brick? Cosmos: War of the Planets is exactly like that, but different.

How are they the same? First, it’s spaghetti sci fi, heavy on the cheese. That would be the brick. It was written and directed by Alfonso Brescia (Al Bradley). Brescia went on to make such classics as Battle of the Stars (1978), War of the Robots (1978), Star Odyssey (1979), and Beast in Space (1980), among others. Many of the aforementioned films reused footage, costumes, actors, and props from Cosmos: War of the Planets. Honestly, I would not be surprised to learn all five movies are the same film just recut and re-titled. Brescia would be the getting hit in the face.

Etor looking scaredThe difference? Getting hit in the face with a brick will eventually heal. Cosmos: War of the Planets will haunt you the rest of your days.

The movie opens in space, a vast blanket of darkness spotted with twinkling lights. It reminds us of how small we are, the sublimity… is interrupted by an annoying video game blip sound as one star blinks brighter and brighter.

Ho-kay.

Cut to a different shot of space. A spaceship, the MK31, floats by. Again the huge expanse dwarfs the insignificant craft. In such spanning possibilities how could these intrepid explorers make any difference? Who are these brave… Devo rejects? Inside the ship, the Devo Crewmen say vaguely science sounding words in some kind of futuristic space spell in order to pilot the ship. Or something.

Uhg.

Just as sleep was about to take me there’s a “stellar explosion.” Well, that’s what one of the Devo Crewmen calls it. What actually happens is a flash of light followed by a meteor hurtling towards them. Devo Crew jump into their seats and strap on their seat belts. They ask the computer for new coordinates in order to escape the “rays” of the explosion (i.e. the meteor). Funny thing, the computer does not register the explosion.

Wait, what?

Now Devo Crew is worried. There are lots of anxious looks. Each of the fifteen crew members gets their turn to look distressed. That is, all except for Rent-a-Center Tommy Chong, Marseille, who is more concerned with biting his nails. At this point I too was more concerned with his hangnail than the plot. Sadly, though, we never find out if he got it.

Marseille chewing his fingernailWhy stress? Just steer away, right?

Problem is the MK31 does not have a steering wheel. There are plenty of random buttons and blinky lights, but no controls. The MK31 is piloted by the computer, with no way to manually take control. (This is why you don’t let the Italians design your spacecraft.) So, with nothing else to do, there are more shots of Devo Crewmen looking on helplessly. The meteor is upon them and…

Never mind, it was nothing.

Seriously. In a move that makes M. Night Shymalan wet, the whole thing is unceremoniously dropped.

“That was a refraction of a cosmic explosion occurring 10 million years ago,” says the computer. Wait a minute. A second ago there was nothing there. Now the computer not only registers the event, but registers an event that happened 10 million years ago?

Whap! Brick right to the kisser!

Amazingly it is only three minutes into the film but it feels like several hours. There is still an hour and twenty-something minutes to go. (This is why you don’t let the Italians make your sci fi movie.) I felt like Ash in the laughing room scene of Evil Dead 2.

The credits roll as space granola floats around in the background, a kind of high colonic cleansing party for our mental palate.

Next we see Captain Devo, Hamilton—Captain Ham from here on—walking into command center Orion. He strolls up and punches some guy named Miller. Having completed his mission, Captain Ham leaves.

Captain Ham is supposed to be a no-nonsense, bucks authority kinda guy that movies like this call for. He’s more of a douche but, eh, close enough. Commander Bossman gives Captain Ham a talking to as punishment, then gives him command of a ship leaving for the Vega System. Or was it Space Vegas? Whatever. Commander Bossman is harsh, but fair.

Next we get some random scenes showcasing life aboard the MK31. In other words, a bunch of idiots barely able to handle mundane tasks without killing themselves. There’s a space walk to fix a space circuit. For some reason mishandled space circuits spit acid and, conveniently, this space circuit is mishandled. Captain Ham has to go out and rescue the Devo Crewman, thus showing how awesome Captain Ham is. Then we watch a couple of the female crew talk about how dreamy Captain Ham is. There’s some space hootchie-cootchie-lick-‘em-yum-yums in the Cosmic Love room. (Cosmic Love is two single beds with a model Death Star between them. Flip a few switches, watch the groovy light show, and you are getting your freak on.)

WIZJust as I was reaching for the remote to turn off Cosmos: War of the Planets a transmission comes in. By transmission I mean the grinding sound of an old Studebaker with a bad starter filtered through a Pac Man effects pedal. The message is never translated, but I’m pretty sure it went something like, “Get on with it already!”

Somehow the signal is interfering with Earth’s radio transmissions which has put Commander Boss Man’s butt is in the fire. WIZ, Earth’s most smartest super computer ever, recognizes that the signal is being broadcast by an intelligence that “knows all.” Being way smart and stuff, WIZ advises Commander Boss Man to seek  out the intelligence and destroy it. What a great idea. Launch an attack on some being that knows all. (This is why you don’t let the Italians design your super computers.)

As an unnecessary counter point, Captain Ham gives his theory about the mysterious signal, “radioactivity meeting a cosmic belt.” Take that you stupid blipping robot box. Who’s the damned fool now? Alien intelligence? Feh. In fact, Captain Ham goes so far as to say that the computer “must be drunk.”

Regardless, Earth is going to send a ship and the closest is…

The MK31!

Though Captain Ham is a terrible person, his deficiencies make him the perfect person to lead this mission. That is, if he fails no one is going to miss him or Devo Crew. Finally! The movie does something believable.

Being a jerk that bucks authority, Captain Ham refuses the mission. He’s already on his way home and he’s got a haircut appointment he just cannot miss. He’s rescheduled it twice now and if he backs out again he will loose his deposit. Because the script says otherwise, some random spaceships materialize and attack the MK31, crippling it and the oh-so-capable Captain Ham.

Somehow, despite being on their way home, this attack causes them to spin out of control and into orbit around the planet broadcasting the mysterious signals. A planet that is galaxies away. Though seemingly untenable, I have a theory. The MK31 is powered by Expositive Plot Drive. That is, in order for the MK31 to escape from the spin, Captain Ham tells the closest Devo Crewman to press the “auxiliary ignition button pump”, which makes no sense. This red herring, being another brick to the face, disorients the viewer. Some slow motion acting is mixed in to further befuddle the audience and viola, anything goes. Unicorn sphincters spitting skittles would have made as much sense as them abruptly being at the renegade planet.

The spinning gives way to another scene of no-stakes drama. The MK31 is going to crash, or blow up, or run out of Snickers bars in the cafeteria vending machine. There are looks of concern. And more looks of concern. And nothing happens. Brescia just needed stuff to happen in order to fill runtime. Captain Ham orders the separation of the command module from the body of the MK31. After which they land on the planet.

Cut to a rock quarry. You know, the planet surface. The Space Science Team (that’s actually what the call themselves) generally mill about, investigating the hell out of the first ten square feet of ground outside the ship’s door. That is, all but ONE guy.

Space StonehengeJack, the inquisitive one on Space Science Team, wanders off and discovers Space Stonehenge. It’s totally sweet because it is a teleporter to a random cavern. Well, not completely random. This particular cavern is home of Cavern Robot. Cavern Robot wobbles slowly towards anyone in its area. Jack calls for help on his wrist calcom (calculator/communicator of the HP35 variety). No one on Space Science Team pays it any mind. Yet, when he cries out, as Cavern Robot treads on his space bunion, Space Science Team hears his cry. From deep within the cavern at some remote location somewhere far away.

Pow! Another brick right in the mush!

Always on the ball, one of Space Science Team remarks, “I think I saw him go towards those rocks.” In a rock quarry. Sigh. Good job narrowing that down, Lt. Dipstick. Captain Ham must be so very proud of Space Science Team. As hard as it is to believe, they actually follow Jack’s voice, and Lt. Dipstick’s vague directions, straight to Space Stonehenge.

Once inside the cavern, instead of setting off Cavern Robot’s proximity detector, Space Science Team are jumped by a clan of Troglovulcans, bald guys in linen diapers, painted blue-black with pointy ears. Old Man Troglovucan tells the story of how his people used to be a great race. Unfortunately they used their great advances in science to make robots so they could laze about. The machines revolted, as oppressed automata are wont to do. Why the “advanced” Troglovulcans did not remove the emotion chip that allowed the robots to feel oppressed is a question the film leaves unanswered. My guess is they were jerks. Whatever the case, there was an atomic war and the Troglovulcans devolved.

There is some exposition by Etor, the only named Trogulvucan (hmm, wonder if there is any significance to that?), which boils down to the enemy of my enemy is my friend resulting in an alliance between the Troglovulcans and humans. The Space Science Team is allowed to return to MK31, but they have to leave Mila behind. The Troglovulcans may be cave-dwelling morons, but they are not chumps. Captain Ham agrees to Mila being used as collateral. Keep in mind Mila is Captain Ham’s girlfriend. Also keep in mind that Space Science Team are armed with disintegrator rays and the Troglovulcans are armed with snug fitted adult diapers. I might be reading too much into it, but I think this is Captain Ham’s ham-fisted way of saying things “just aren’t working out.”

Back on MK31 there is another scene of Cosmic Love. Normally in a 70s Italian film these scenes would have incorporated nudity. In a ballsy artistic move, Brescia makes Cosmic Love more akin to a visit to one’s therapist, except less erotic. Meanwhile, Captain Ham consults MK31’s computer—yes, Captain Ham, the one who hates computers—and it reports the enemy is a computer. To destroy it they will need to press a button. A red button. A big red button. (The computer has to break it down for them in simple terms that even a village idiot could understand, because, that’s what the Devo Crew are.) Captain Ham gets worked up into a tissy because the report is only 70% possible. What? He hates computers, even when they are 100% accurate. Why does he constantly consult them?

Ugh. Why am I even asking these questions?

While Captain Ham cleans the sand out of his crevices, outside MK31 Random Devo Crewman #89 is singing while he patrols the parameter. There are some thumps which Random Devo Crewman #89 completely ignores. Jump cut inside to more Cosmic Love. Cut back to thumping outside. At this point Random Devo Crewman #89 has noticed and is worried. There are long shots of him looking anxious. Cut back to Cosmic Love, which is interrupted by some unconvincing roaring. Back outside, Random Devo Crewman #89 is attacked by Cavern Robot, i.e. Cavern Robot wobbles at him. When the backup Devo Crewmen come out to investigate, Cavern Robot uses its Super Breath Attack to blow dust at them. Mildly irritated, the Devo Crewmen retreat to get their protective space suits.

And…

BLFNAR The Evil RobotJump to Space Science Team back in the cavern. Okay. I guess that was enough of that last scene.

There is much rejoicing to be back with Mila. Yippee. Hurray. Random Devo Crewman #193’s wristmotron goes off, reminding them that the plot needs to keep moving forward. Captain Ham and Holden head off. Somehow they know to walk over to a particular corner which houses another transporter. This one teleports them before Master Brain Machine.

Master Brain Machine delivers his villain’a monologue, the tale of  how Troglovulcans are bad and by extension so is all organic life in the universe. (Kill all humans!) Also, how he is all powerful. (Kill all humans!) And finally he commands Captain Ham and Holden to switch out a few circuits so he can initiate his final solution. (Kill all humans!)

One circuit fixes Master Brain Machine, which came as a relief, i.e. no extended looks or exposition for filler. With all his power restored, Master Brain Machine is strangely impotent when it comes to killing Captain Ham and Holden who are standing right in front of him. (This is why you don’t let the Italians design your evil Master Brain Machines.) Captain Ham MacGyver’s a sling shot out of his belt, which he uses to destroy Master Brain Machine David and Goliath style. Master Brain Machine’s roots are so intricately intertwined with the planet that as it explodes the planet starts to erupt.

Back at MK31, Marseille and Random Devo Crewman #43 are guarding the ship. Everything is quiet and chill. Suddenly Max’s body is there. So is Gretta’s. Who are Max and Gretta? Who cares? We will just call them victims of Cavern Robot. Whatever. Marseille and Random Devo Crewman #43 bring the bodies into the ship and deposit them in the infirmary. It turns out Gretta isn’t dead. As Marseille and Random Devo Crewman #43 leave, she opens her eyes. Then a couple Random Devo Crewmen are found dead.

Yeah, it would have been cool to see how they died, but at this point the movie is ready to be done. All continuity is thrown out the window in favor of ending this farce as quickly as possible. So again, whatever.

The planet remembers it was blowing up in a previous scene. There are stock footage shots of lava and volcanic eruptions. Captain Ham and Space Science Team make it back to the ship just in time. There’s some shaky camera shots of Devo Crewmen battening down the hatches, more volcano burbling, and intense talking about full power and the generators not having power and blah, blah, blah.

Big surprise, they make it out okay.

Only one Troglovulcan is saved, Etor. Heh, who would have guessed? No mention of the others left behind. No sadness. Just jokes about Etor being an instant officer because of the uniform he borrowed. (Thankfully once they got him on board they had him put on something more than the nappy.)

The End.

Wait. It isn’t?

Alka-Seltzer foaming at the mouth.The Master Brain Machine somehow possessed Random Devo Crewman #381, and in doing so made him impervious to disintegrator rays. While that is cool, it also made Random Devo Crewman #381 foam at the mouth and break out in a nasty rosacea. As Devo Crew looks around stupidly, Etor steps up like a champ to fight Master Brain Machine Guy #381. On the other hand, Captain Ham shows his true colors by grabbing his crew mate, leaving Etor to get beat down. Once safely in another room, Captain Ham ejects both Master Brain Machine Guy #381 and Etor into space.

All of everything is promptly forgotten when a happy message comes in from Earth. It’s a FaceTime call from Peter’s wife. His baby was just born. Ah! Who is Peter? Whatever. Shut up! It is almost over.

The end.

Nope. Brescia, channelling his inner J.R.R. Tolkien and the never ending ending, has another twist of supreme stupidity. The Master Brain Machine possessed the ship’s computer before Master Brain Machine Guy #381’s body was ejected into space. We discover the switcheroo when the computer’s voice changes to that of Master Brain Machine’s. Then there are some flashback scenes of the Cavern Robot and the stock volcanic eruptions (they paid for it and they are going to use, it by God) juxtaposed with the happy crew FaceTiming with Peter’s wife and baby.

Captain Ham looks around confused.

Indeed.

Now, FINALLY, the end.


Cosmos: War of the Planets

Tagline: Robot Terror from Space!

Year: 1977          Runtime: 89 min

DirectorAlfonso Brescia

Writer: Alfonso Brescia & Aldo Crudo

StarringJohn Richardson, Yanti Somer, West Buchanan


roadside attractions

  • WATCH! people look at the camera for long periods of time with vague emotions!
  • HEAR! special sound effects sampled from a Casio wrist watch!
  • WITNESS!  first contact with an alien race and then its utter  decimation, all without the slightest bit of concern!
  • FEEL! Cosmic Love, or what counts as intercourse in the space future!
  • BE AMAZED! by logic defying space science!
totals

4 blood  

BLOOD

No blood, but did have some nasty rosacea and mouth foam.

0 blood  

BREASTS

This is a classy Italian sci fi. None of that cheap stuff here.

 

10 beast  

BEASTS

Cave Robots. Super Master Robot, & Troglovulcans.

 

OVERALL 4.666
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Nov

Comments Off on Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror

Burial Ground
“The earth shall tremble…. graves shall open…. they shall come among the living as messengers of death and there shall be the nights of terror…. “Profecy of the Black Spider”

1981 – Unrated – 86 Minutes – Shriek Show
Starring Karin Well, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Peter Bark – Directed by Andrea Bianchi

If there is one thing I love about Italiansploitation films (that’s Italian made exploitation films, which I’m sure you were able to figure out), it’s that they would take a preposterous idea seriously while having fun with it. Sometimes without even knowing that’s what they are doing. The producers tell them that the Dawn of the Dead movie is popular, so crank out a zombie flick as fast as you can. Someone writes a script over a lonely, drunken weekend, turns it in and the first director that says they can make it on the lowest budget wins. The gore is ramped up, a few quirky and disturbing character traits are added and the film is cast. Everything is turned up to ten. The actors take their roles very seriously and put their heart and soul into it. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to notice once these films are atrociously dubbed. The film is then haphazardly cut together in a short amount of time and released to your local grindhouse theater the next day for your viewing pleasure. Nethertheless, once those credits start rolling, you aren’t sure what the hell you just experienced, but you loved it.

I have no evidence to back this up, mind you. It’s something I’ve gathered from watching bonus features, reading stories and the overall impression I’m left with once the film is over.

Burial Ground comes to mind as a perfect example of this. Everything about this film is poorly executed, so why do I love it so much? I should hate this film by all accounts, but I don’t. It’s a film that you can’t really talk about or review without putting it under a microscope and fully analyzing it. So hunker down, this is gonna be a long review. I know what you are thinking, “Didn’t you already review a movie called Nights of Terror?” Well, no. That movie was Rats: Night of Terror. This movie’s subtitle is Nights, with an ‘s’, plural, which is actually quite stupid since the film only takes place during one night. But seeing as how Night was already taken… or maybe they are being extremely technical since the opening of the film does take place on the evening before, but I don’t think they took that into consideration.

bg_2Mall Santa by day, back up ZZ Top member by night, Professor… ? (they just call him Professor or “the” Professor if they are being polite or perhaps in some cruel ironic ploy, his name actually was Professor) has just discovered the secret! A secret so secretive that it will be never be revealed what it is or even brought up by anyone again. He then wanders out to some tomb not to far from his mansion where zombies begin to rise and immediately eat him and by eat him I mean they rub identifiable lumps of gore all over their faces to mimic eating, even after his pleas that he is their friend.

First thing you are gonna notice about these zombies is that there seems to be a mix of pretty decent zombie makeup and some of the worst looking zombies you’ve seen. The makeup job can get so bad, that you can see the actors eyes and lips through the masks, even on a low quality VHS. The second thing you’ll notice is how slow they are are. And when I say slow, I mean S-L-O-O-O-O-W. Crawling doesn’t even define it. These zombies move so slow, you’ll think you’re watching a scene in slow motion. You have to wonder how they ever catch their victims to eat, but luckily we have a smorgasbord of daft idiots for them to feast on and I’m not sure where any of these people are in relation to the Professor, since it’s never really addressed (maybe as colleagues in passing, but I can’t recall). The stand out character from this group is Michael, played by Peter Bark, for a reason that will become glaringly obvious the split second he is on screen; he’s a dwarf in his mid 20’s with a bad toupee playing a ten year old. And if that isn’t creepy enough for you, he also has sexual feelings toward his mother.

Anyway, this evenly matched man to woman crew has returned after six months and what’s the first thing they do? Sex! Yeah, the film certainly knows how to maintain your attention, as you watch each of the three couples foreplay, until Michael interrupts his mother, Evelyn’s. She stands there totally nude, inquisiting the young lad about what he is doing, which I’m sure is in no way sexually confusing to the already sexually confused deviant. Without getting to far ahead of myself or psychoanalyzing the character, Evelyn seems to be sexually confused about her son as well, but it’s (surprisingly) more subtle.

The useless blonde archetype of the group, Janet, can’t help but feel that they are all in danger and wants to warn the others, but is discouraged by her lover Mark. The good ol’ ‘Prophet of Doom’. Most of these Italian films had them, even if they don’t fit into the story, like why is she suddenly getting these feelings? It’s never explained, so let’s move on to the next morning, where after some finely placed J&B Scotch product placement, we are finally giving a brief, but not open ended explanation as to why the zombies have risen.

bg_3The Professor was studying ‘the black arts’. There ya go.

And this is why all of the characters are here. This is what the Professor wanted to tell them. A simple phone call or letter would not do. Well, we needed a reason to group a bunch of dimwits together for a zombie, gut munching gore fest, so now we have one.

Now that all (and I do mean all) of the exposition is out of the way, we can move on to more exploitation! Each of the couples separate to do their own hobbies, like sketching, photography or George teaching Evelyn to fire a handgun (which, again, never comes back in the film, so take that, Chekhov’s gun!) Ultimately, all of these activities lead to heavy petting, leaving these fools to be distracted as the zombies emerge from the tomb and attack the profusely stupid and conveniently distracted couples. Janet and Mark are the first two to be attacked and although they aren’t sure what to make of the creatures, Mark intelligently states that, “Whatever they are, they aren’t human!” Thanks Mark, I wasn’t able to figure that out. As they escape, Janet runs around screaming and flailing, making Olive Oil look dignified, manages to get herself caught in a bear trap. Wait, why the hell is there a bear trap randomly placed there. Did I say bear? I mean’t nimrod trap.

Meanwhile, George is trying to seduce Evelyn, even while Michael is in the room (which I’m sure seeing random dudes grind on his mom is in no way adding to those sexual feelings toward her…). In a disturbing turn of the scene, Michael manages to gain his mother’s attention by finding a cloth, commenting that it smells like death, then showing George how to really seduce a woman as he kisses his mom’s hand all over while staring right into George’s eyes as if saying, “Yeah punk, let me show you how it’s done. I know what my mom likes!” I can’t believe I had to write that. This movie is making me feel ill.

Luckily before things go any further and turns into some weird fetish films, the zombies attack, killing George leaving Evelyn and Michael to defend themselves by throwing paint on the zombies and setting them on fire. James and Leslie, the other couple (sorry, that’s the best description I have for them) manage to save them in time, as they also previously saved Mark and Janet. They group takes shelter inside the house, with what looks like very helpful stage direction from a zombie who points for them to run in a certain direction. Finally inside with the butler and maid, Nicholas and Kathleen, they decide it’s best to check out the rest of the house to make sure it’s safe. Mark heroically volunteers defenseless Kathleen to go search the entire house by herself. Sorry lady, but we can’t spare any of these several people sitting around. After searching the house for a bit, Kathleen finds an open window to close on the second floor, but that doesn’t stop these zombies. These zombies are ninja like experts with their precise accuracy as one throws a tent spike right into her hand, pinning her in her spot and leaving them time to slowly cut off her head with a scythe, making this what could be the best zombie kill in a movie.

bg_4These zombies may look laughably stupid, but they know how to organize. Arming themselves with weapons from a nearby and conveniently placed tool shed, they march to the front door and begin smashing on it with tools. However James, who inexplicably now has a shotgun, starts blowing their heads off from an open window. Even these zombies aren’t that stupid, as after about a dozen of them have their brains reduced to mush, they begin to retreat. The group feels they are now safe for the night and Leslie heads off to find some bandages for Janet’s wounded leg, only to be jumped from a zombie outside as she passes a window, who uses a broken shard of glass to push through her brain. This calls for all the other zombies to infiltrate like a SWAT team and attack helpless Janet in a scene that feels like it goes on forever, until the others reappear and fight back.

That was pretty tense! I think everyone needs a break. As they all sit around and rest up, Michael uses this time to make a move on his mom by kissing her and groping, adding a whole new definition to breastfeeding, which she sickly seems to be going with, but snaps out of it and slaps him across the face and immediately apologizes. Yeah this kid is gonna be messed up for the rest of his life, which coincidentally isn’t too much longer. He darts off only to have his arm devoured by a zombie Leslie, who I thought had glass stabbed through her brain (but, how did she turn if she wasn’t bit?). Evelyn finds the now dead Michael and bashes zombie Leslie’s head up against a bathtub, leaking all kinds of grossly colored juices.

No time for mourning your weirdo son, lady. The zombies have made a homemade battering ram (holy moly, they are resourceful) and have broken down the door! If only they were really slow moving and weak, then maybe they would have a chance of escaping… instead the remaining survivors hide until morning when Janet spots what looks like a monk heading inside the tomb. Monks? Sure why not! I’m sure they are down right neighborly and will offer shelter and help or, as it turns out, they are zombies and kill James upon seeing him, who almost immediately rises from the dead.

So what are the qualifications for becoming a zombie in this movie? Do you or don’t you have to get bit? How long does it take? Who cares! Zombies, right?

The final three realize they are locked in the tomb’s… workshed? Yeah, why does this place have a workshed? I guess when monks and the Professor aren’t studying the black arts, they are heavy into home repair. I’m sure a workshed is in no way a setup for the final act and our remaining victim’s fate (wow, I am using a lot of sarcasm in this review). Michael returns as a zombie, with a whole new arm somehow and a nipple bite later, Janet and Mark are being surrounded and being pushed headfirst into saw blades. The movie closes on a freeze frame, telling of a “profecy” of a “nigths” and that’s not a typo on my part.

So the movie ends about as well as you thought it would. With obviously glaring typos over the survivors’ demise.

bg_5If it weren’t for the time that this movie was made, I would have sworn this is a spoof, otherwise there would be no explanation as to how bad things are in this movie. Complaints about some of the terrible and revealing makeup aside (at least during the close ups), these zombies are incredibly slow moving and weak. In order to make them a menace, the characters in this film are written to a point of stupidity so insane, that it is fiction. Nothing anyone does is something anything with a pulse would do. They stand around looking puzzled as zombies slowly shuffle toward them, then while escaping, they run head first into the undead, even though they have plenty of space to run around them. Of course, most zombie films are guilty of this, but here it’s overplayed. Thankfully, it plays for laughs and sheer entertainment. With the exception of Michael, I can’t say anything positive about the other characters. There is simply nothing to them, except to be a meal for the zombies. I’m not expecting deep character development, but literally all of these characters are the same. The guys are all faux masculine and the women just cry. In some sort of sick ironic sense, if it weren’t for Michael, there wouldn’t be any reason to watch these buffoons.

Playful jabs aside, the film isn’t horribly directed. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t consider it to be beautiful like a Mario Bava film or something like Fulci’s The Beyond, but mood is well established and the shots frame everything well to capture what is going on. The soundtrack is… interesting to say the least. It’s no Harry Manfredini score, but it’s odd keyboard ‘pokes’ and tense violin strings do accompany the film extremely well. And the gore. Oh yes, the gore. There is more than enough here to satisfy any like minded horror fan as these poor chumps are ripped apart and have their guts devoured, body parts torn or cut off and even the zombies themselves get their head smashed to bits. Also, I know I joked about some of the makeup looking pretty bad and it can be, but there are some good looking zombies thrown in, complete with maggot covered faces and all. And I do have to say, it’s refreshing to see zombies use some tools for a change and instead of mindlessly lumbering around, these zombies actually had something of a plan and did what they could to do it. I was often reminded of the first zombie encountered in Night of the Living Dead who uses a brick. There are very few breaks in between the carnage for you to sit back and relax, as something is always out to get you. Even the dubbing is fitting for the film. It’s as atrocious as you would expect (especially Peter Bark’s voice over) from an Italiansploitation film, yet it somehow fits into all of this.

Ever hear the phrase ‘so bad it’s good?’ Well, this is what the are referring to when they say that. This is a movie that by all accounts (the special effects, acting, directing, etc.) should be a bad film, but it isn’t. Everything that is bad is what makes this film good. Laying beneath its serious demeanor is a smirk of devilish charm, a film that is (or at least it must be) self aware and having some fun with you. Underneath all the layers of cheese is a delicious blend of fun and hokiness. Burial Ground is what I consider to be the definitive example of the Italian zombie genre of the 80’s. It’s not revered as a classic in the way that George Romero’s earlier zombie flicks are, but the film is looked as a classic in terms of what to expect from an exploitation film of this genre.

Burial Ground
I really could go on forever about Burial Ground, but I think it’s easiest, and probably the best, to say you need to see it. I don’t think you can consider yourself to be a zombie fan or Italian film fan until you do.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • ZZ Top devoured.
  • Michael.
  • Sexy sexiness sex.
  • Bear trap troubles.
  • Maid decap attack.
  • Better Home and Garden, zombie edition.
  • Mother lover.
  • Home improvement, monk edition.
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Guts are eaten, heads are cut off, limbs are devoured, flesh is rotten… has the world gone mad!?

7

blood

BREASTS

Lots of nudity and sex… and the most uncomfortable breastfeeding.

5

beast

BEASTS

Slow moving, but not entirely braindead.

7.3 OVERALL
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Sep

Comments Off on Rats: Night of Terror

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
dripper

Watch the entire movie… in Italian!

trailers

dripper

About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>