Archive for the 'Holiday films' Category

Oct

posted by Barry Goodall | October 23, 2011 | Halloween films, Holiday films

Comments Off on Super-Uber Duper Halloween Movie List

It’s that time a year again. Time when little monsters beg for snacks and drunk soccer moms dress as slutty pirates. No it’s not kids eat free night at Long John Silvers, it’s time for our annual “Movies you might have seen but maybe not but if you didn’t then check them out halloween night movie list” or “MYMHSBMNBIYDTCTOHNML” for short. Our highway mutant editors came up with a list that in no way reflects good taste, human decency or a proper hygiene and to that we say “heck yeah!” So here’s our movie list which is in no particular order mostly because we ain’t no communists.

1. The Frighteners
Three years before that kid saw dead folk in The Sixth Sense, Michael J. Fox had a similar affliction in this here flick. But, unlike the mopey kid in Sixth Sense, MJF used his powers to make some extra cash.

2. Trick r’ Treat
A collection of interlaced short stories which nobody but four people saw, Trick r’ Treat is a hoot. Shame it didn’t get the attention it deserved, much like Jaleel White’s one man musical, Urkel Rex.

3. Ernest Scared Stupid
Yes, this may fall under the ‘kiddie’ category, but aside from being an important Public Service Announcement about the dangers of trolls, it is some of Jim Varney’s finest work as Ernest.

4. Planet Terror
A throwback to over-the-top zombie movies (are there any other kind?), Planet Terror is as fun as it is gory.

5. Call of Cthulhu
For those what like their horror a bit more on the ‘cerebral’ side (and I don’t mean floating killer brains), check out this take on H. P. Lovecraft’s classic story. It is black and white, and not a talkie, but captures the mood (and time) of the story pretty well.

6. John Carpenter’s Vampires
No Halloween movie list is complete with out at least one JC flick. Vampires is funny, gory, and gritty. No fancy hairdos or sparkling here. Trivia: stars Sheryl Lee, Twin Peaks’ Laura Palmer. Yes, please.

7. Dead Alive
Most blood and gore I’ve seen, and I’ve been looking for years to find more; all of it is absolutely gratuitous. The story of a momma’s boy whose mother is bitten by a spider monkey and becomes a zombie. Unable to properly “deal” with his mother, a comedy of errors insures and the plague spreads quickly. But the real gem is the Kung Fu priest and his line, “I kick ass for the Lord!” Can I get an Ahmen!?!

8. Evil Dead 2
This one is a no brainer. Yes, it is a popular favorite, but it stands the test of time and needs to be on any Halloween list.

9. Ghost Dad
83 minutes of terror. Bill Cosby (yes) rises from the dead to wreck havoc on those who done him wrong. Or he just comes back as a ghost and tries to make his kids love him. I can’t remember. I always pass out after the first ten minutes due to brain failure.

10. Thirst
A vampire movie that is actually cool. Not because some aesthetically pleasing teens are wearing tight black leather, but because the story is excellent. Tired of feeling useless watching patients die at the hospital he works for, a Catholic priest volunteers for an experiment to find a cure for a deadly, and incurable, disease. During one of his blood transfusions he is tainted with vampire blood. Without knowing what’s happened, he has to come to terms with his new urges and his religious calling.

11. The Signal
Someone has started broadcasting a signal on all devices, radio, television, interwebs, etc., that has driven people insane. A young girl tries to make it to a rendezvous with her lover at a train station, all the while being pursued by her husband, and what seems like the whole of the city, that’s gone psychotic. Another great mix of bloody horror and humor.

12. Murder Party
Christopher Hawley is a loser who mistakenly gets an invite to a Halloween party. The group throwing the party intends to kill him for their “art”. What they get is mayhem, mishap and hilarity.

13. Shawn of the Dead
Best. Romantic. Comedy. Ever. It took me a while to realize it was a romantic comedy because the genre is so masterfully hidden under the layers of “buddy flick” and “zombie outbreak”. Pure GENIUS.

14. The Mist
Whereas this movie has monsters, and blood and guts, the real horror of the film is what happens because of the people who are trapped, trying to survive. In true Stephen King fashion, no one gets away clean in this film, and the worst of the worst is saved for the very end. The last minute is heartbreaking.

15. Audition
This movie can be incredibly slow. I almost didn’t make it through the film. It’s about a man who’s raised his son alone after his wife died in childbirth. Now, some 17 years later, he’s looking to remarry but doesn’t know how to meet women. A friend, who’s a movie producer invites him to take part in some auditions he’s holding to fill the female lead to help him break the ice. Know this, it is WELL worth what the film’s building up to in the last 25 minutes. When it hits the fan it’ll freak you out, but good.

16. The Ugly
From New Zeland, a good looking psycho thinks he’s ugly and everyone laughs at him, so he starts butchering every chick he comes across with a straight razor because he is possessed by The Ugly. Tries to have a good relationship, but whatever pseudo-demonic force inhabits him just won’t let go, despite the best efforts of a psychologist who comes to love and understand poor Simon. Awesome mental hospital scenes, and a decent twist on the end.

17. The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Willy Wonka’s Candyman up against the diabolical Vincent Price and his wind-up jazz band. Psychedelic dance scenes, prolonged organ playing (of the musical type, you perverts!), and some of the fanciest death scenes ever! My particular favorite is the frog mask. It doesn’t get much more technicolor than this.

18. The Stuff
The best parasitic alien dessert food movie yet. White gunk bubbling from the ground is discovered by two hobos whose first instinct is to taste it. It takes off like effing wildfire, and the only things standing between The Stuff and world domination are a little boy and an industrial spy. You get an excellent grocery store freakout, melting faces, and sentient cool whip. It’ll make you think twice about eating a twinkie ever again!

19. Stanley
Vietnam veteran gets along better with snakes than he does people; your typical traditional country native fighting off the sleezy, drug-addled land developer. He takes matters into his own hands and sics his pet rattlesnake Stanley on the city scum, and then in a moment of pure ‘What just happened?’ kidnaps the developer’s daughter after he’s filled the pool with various and sundry snakes, and she falls in love with the cold-blooded swamp stud. He plans to make her his Eve, but she wants to go to the rock-n-roll show, and in a climactic man vs. nature scene, he reaps the venom he spewed.

20. Don’t Answer the Phone
Psychopathic pudge-bucket throttles ladies with extreme prejudice. Amateur S&M photography sessions, and extreme stalking behavior. The one that got away is chased and psychologically tortured, but thankfully a hunky police officer feels sorry for her and annihilates the bad guy.

21. The Blob
I can’t say much about this one other than if frigging rocks. The quintessential Earth vs. Extraterrestrial Gunk movie. Just awesome fun all the way around.

22. House
William Katt, a horror writer with PTSD inherits his aunt’s haunted house, where his son disappeared years before. Estranged from his soap star wife, he goes to the house to write his Vietnam memoirs, but ends up doing battle with the supernatura, led by Bull from Night Court. The Greatest American Hero dukes it out with sentient garden tools, slime glopola monsters, demonic troll kids, and a taxidermied swordfish. Badass.

23. Dr. Giggles
Crazy surgeon takes revenge on his home town for the deaths of his parents. His mom died of a bad heart, and his surgeon father tried to find her a replacement…by cutting the hearts out of townsfolk. They gave him the Frankenstein pitchfork treatment, but not before he had sewn the young doctor into his mother’s corpse. He runs into a teenager with the same condition as dear momma had, and makes it his mission to kill her friends and transplant her heart.

24. Popcorn
A twist on the wax museum revenge story; this time set in a movie theater where a college film studies class puts on a horror movie extravaganza, but someone’s got their sights set on murder! A little girl with vague memories of almost getting murdered by a cult, the movie the cult was filming showing up, and the hideously deformed creepazoid hiding his marred visage behind elaborate makeup untl the final showdown. Great sendups of William Castle classics and old theater gimmicks.


25. American Gothic

Traumatized woman takes an island vacation with her friends, only they land on an island inhabited by a family of nutballs who murder folks from the modern day and make them into mummified dolls for the kids. This one goes full circle, everyone getting hacked up except for the crazy lady, who goes so absolutely and perfectly insane that she joins up with the family, only to go EVEN MORE CRAZY and kill them all. Amazing

Apr

Comments Off on “April Fool’s Day” Rest Stop Review Edition

Hi, I’m Mary O’Reilly O’Toole O’Shea…April fool’s! It’s Donna Bleed! I’ve never been too good at pranks, never have needed to be. After all, there are many ways of being clever! Our flick for tonight, in case you hadn’t guessed is April Fool’s Day!

Muffy St. John has invited her closest friends to her island mansion for a weekend getaway on Spring Break. We get introduced to Nikki right off the bat, she’s the sassy, sexy one; then Chaz, the cute artistic womanizer; Arch, the hunky jock who’ll sleep with anything that has a pulse; Kit, the good girl; Nan, the nerdy prude; Hal, the gold-digger; Rob, the sensitive guy; and Skip, Muffy’s distant cousin.

Skip and Arch are playing mumbledy-peg when it all goes wrong. Don’t throw knives, kids! Rob and Buck dive in to the rescue, but oh! It turns out to be a prank! Skip and Arch cooked up a fake knife and a blood bag without anyone noticing! Buck the deckhand decides to stay in the water to tie the ferry to the dock, but Captain Cal drives it right into him, and Buck’s face meets the propeller. A lot of screaming and blood, but luckily, Sherriff Sam is right there on the scene, whisking Cal and Buck off to the hospital, and making sure the yuppies know to stay put on the island. (The island that has no way off of it, aside from the ferry that now has no captain, but we’ll overlook that)

Basically, what we have here is the flower of over-privileged 80’s college students out to take over the world, and who have no idea what they want to do with their lives, trapped in a mansion that’s been rigged to annoy and upset them. They have special party favors hidden in their rooms and the one in Nan’s sends her into a pure-d tizzy; a tape of a crying baby hidden in her closet, hinting at some dark past.  Nikki has a drawer full of S&M gear, and everyone else is confused and mildly put out by theirs. Arch goes on a great nookie hunt, and stumbles in on Chaz and Nikki in a position that the doctor from Human Centipede would be proud of. I’ve never seen anyone make the sign of the triple-gilled anteater like that before or since.

Then things take a turn; Skip meets with misfortune in the boathouse during the night. Muffy has made a vicious personality change, and nobody much seems to care that Skip is missing until Rob and Kat attempt to make the sign of the electrocuted mud weasel and his dead body floats past. Then in classic style, they all split up.

I have to admit, this movie isn’t much on thrilling action so much as it is all about the psychological. Red herrings abound as they blame the ferry captain and Buck for the mayhem. People are getting picked off one by one; the water goes out and Nikki ends up in the well with Nan’s body and the decapitated heads of Skip and Arch. Then Hal, Chaz, and Nikki eat it in imaginary ways; we even have a pruning of the wangdoodle.

Soon, none but Rob, Kit, and Muffy are left. We get thrilling chases, during which there are pictures found of Muffy and…Buffy? Who’s Buffy? Oh, only Muffy’s psycho twin sister, who has decided that she and all her friends all have to go…permanently. It all ends with Rob locked in the pantry, and a showdown between Kit and Buffy, and in her final moments Kit stumbles into the den where she finds…

Everyone. They’re all alive and well, and laughing it up. Rob is released from the pantry by Buck, who is scaring him half crazy, when he takes off the prosthetic makeup and slaps it on Rob’s face and gives him a big ol’ smacker before chasing him to the Den. Everyone yells “April Fool’s,” and Muffy lets the cat out of the bag. There is no Buffy, but her twin is Skip. She’s going to lose her inheritance unless she can

maintain the upkeep on the mansion, so she’s decided to turn the mansion into a murder mystery house, and her friends are the guinea pigs. Aww, what a wholesome activity.

There’s one final prank, but I’ll let you see it for yourselves.

Roadside Totals:2 breasts, no dead bodies, no quarts blood, 3 quarts fake blood, 3 mannequin heads,  1 simulated wangdoodle removal, prank-fu, feathered hair-fu, exploding cigars, jack-in-the-box scares.

I think it’s what inspired M. Knight to make every movie have a twist.

Dec

Comments Off on Black Christmas (2006): Rest Stop Review by Doktor


if one goes out they all go out!

Black Christmas (1974) is a cute movie. How scary can a movie be whose only psycho is Margot Kidder, and her mental health bender wasn’t until 22 years later.

Yawn.

The plot is, well, the same as the original, plot-o-tron-3K-tastic. A group of college girls are being killed by a psycho killer, who enjoys taunting them with obscene calls. Perfect for Blood, Breasts and Beasts!

This is how the real Black Christmas (2006), scores in the 3 B’s …

Blood:

It delivers in a 5 gal. bucket. Car windows are completely spray splattered. There’s enough spilled to allow the characters to slip ‘n slide around in it. And just for plan old fun gore, there’s several blood goo covered eyeballs that are removed, and ate.

Mmmmm, mmmmm! Just like Donna Bleed makes, ‘cept in a better movie than the original.

Breasts:

Two Perfect Pert Perkies™, and a SUH-weet shower butt shot! Tugger, Little Toot Tugboat’s big brother, says, “They’re Bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbeautiful!”

The wonderfully talented Crystal Lowe, aka Hot Party Girl #3 in 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, gave of herself so that we might enjoy this movie. God bless you, Crystal. God bless you.

Beasts:

Two, ACTUAL, psycho freaks in this one. First is Billy Lenz (as played by “Yellow Bastard” Roark Jr. before Hartigan took him out) and his Daughter-Sister™ Agnes. That’s right, daughter-sister, as in, this here movie has got some mother/son love going on.

Only 100% Grade-A, psychos here.

Rating (on it’s own merits): 3 Cheese Wedges

Rating (versus the original): 5 Cheese Wedges

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dripper
Dec

Comments Off on Black Christmas (1974): Rest Stop Review Edition by Donna Bleed

A Norman Bates Family Christmas

A Norman Bates Family Christmas?

Making my holiday cookie deliveries around Lost Highway I ran into The Doktor, and we got to talking about our favorite holiday movies. Naturally, Black Christmas was at the top of both our lists, but there was a problem. He thinks the 2006 remake is the better film, while I stand steadfastly by the 1974 original. We decided to go head-to-head and run it by you fine folks. You decide which is better, judging by our 3-B breakdown and critique of each film.

Black Christmas (1974) opens at a sorority house all decked out for the holidays. There is a creepy POV of someone climbing into the attic. Downstairs, the girls are in the Christmas spirit, except Barb (Margot Kidder) whose mother decides to run off with some man rather than see her daughter on Christmas. She returns to the party, and the phone rings again. Apparently, the house has been plagued by an obscene caller, and boy is he a doozy. The call is frightening. I’m serious; if I got a phone call like these gals got, I would not only change my phone number, but I would smash the phone the call came through on into tiny pieces, then pour gasoline over the tiny pieces and set them on fire.

Anyway; after the first call, Claire goes upstairs to finish packing, but doesn’t quite make it, because some psycho wraps a dry cleaning bag around her head. Next thing we see of her, she’s dead in the attic in a rocking chair. The house mother Mrs. Mac comes home, and the girls give her an ugly housedress as a gift. They all scatter to the four winds while Mrs. Mac finds one of the eight thousand bottles of whiskey she has hidden around the house and starts a-guzzlin’. Claire’s dad shows up looking for her; Jess reveals she’s in a family way and wants an abortion and her boyfriend, Peter, doesn’t like that idea; the psycho goes to town. Phone calls, killing Mrs. Mac with a hook and pulley, stabbing Margot Kidder with a crystal unicorn, cop killing, implied murder of a little girl, killing Phyllis offscreen, rampaging through the house and scaring Jess half to death; making her so crazy she thinks it’s Peter and she beats him to death with a fireplace poker.

Why do I think it’s better than the remake? Simple-there is no reason for this dude to be torturing and killing these girls. NONE. We don’t know who he is, aside from thinking his name might be Billy (He screams this name repeatedly during the phone calls), and we don’t know what he wants or what set him off, or why he chose them and not the house down the street. We’re just as much in the dark as poor Jess is at the end, running around and trying to defend herself.

But, let’s get down to brass tacks:

Blood: I’d say about 2 quarts blood. There’s not a whole lot of onscreen violence, and we only see the aftermath of a couple of the killings.

Breasts: No breasts, which is surprising given when this movie was made. The girls are wholesome, aside from Jess, whom we know has been making the sign of the epileptic wombat with Peter, which has resulted in her being knocked up.

Beasts: 3 beasts: Margot Kidder- A drunken wreck until her untimely demise. Not pretty, and a sign of things to come. Mrs. Mac- This woman is so ugly, when she was born, the doctor slapped her momma. Last, but not least, Billy- Psycho extrodinare.

Roadside Attractions:
Dry-cleaner bag-fu, hook and pulley-fu, fireplace poker-fu, crystal unicorn-fu, obscene phone call-fu

3cheese

trailers

dripper
Dec

posted by admin | December 24, 2010 | Feature, Grindhouse, Holiday films, Review by Barry Goodall

Comments Off on A Chuck Brown Grindhouse Christmas

Chuck Brown

It’s a bleak Christmas eve day on the grimy snow covered streets of New York. Chuck Brown, a mofia middleman and his head goon Linus, are discussing their Christmas shipment coming in from Ontario. Chuck just got back from seeing his sister Salley, who was in the middle of writing a letter to her new Jamican boyfriend upstate. A pimp she calls “the big red man.” She’s been trying to extort some money from him for back child support despite the fact her baby is Korean. The shipment is running a few hours late and that’s got Chuck a bit nervous. Even his usually playful beagle Snoop, seems agitated. “Fresh snow, pure cut, dem’ boys better get it here soon or we’ll be breaking some legs for sure.” Chuck complained to a somewhat agitated Linus who was fidgeting with his favorite hankerchief. “Yeah Mr. Brown, we stand to lose a big chunk of change if it don’t show.” he said as he fumbled with the linen cloth between his fingers. “Patty said it would be here, then it’ll be here. She’s never done me wrong before.” replied Chuck sounding as if he was trying to convince himself more than Linus. “What about that time she crashed your Thanksgiving party uninvited and drunk. They don’t called her Peppermint Shnapps Patty for nothin.” Linus smugly retorted. Chuck waves his hand and is if to shrug off the bad memory. “Hey, she’s a recovering alcoholic, she was off the wagon. The food wasn’t no good anyhow.” He sharply said then Chuck grabbed Linus by the collar ” she’s good people and stop fidgeting with that hankerchief Linus you’re bothering me.” Chuck pushed him back against the wall but he continued to stroke the hankerchief like a favorite pet.

Just then a homeless man covered in dirt from his scragily hair down to his rain boots came stumbling through the warehouse door reeking of old trash and whisky. They immediately recognized the odor before evening seeing the face. “Pig Pen, you gots a lot of explaining to do!” Chuck snapped at him while covering his mouth from the foul odor. The man hastily walks towards the two and puts a tattered duffle bag on the table trying to catch his breath.”Sorry Mr. Brown, got stopped by the cops about two blocks back. They didn’t search me luckily, just told me I could get a bath at homeless mission on 42nd street. Guess they don’t like my aftershave.” he joked. “But I ran all the ways here honestly. I didn’t mean to be late.”

Linus abruptly grabs the duffle bag from Mr. Pen and cut open up one of the ziplocks  baggies inside. He gave it a taste with his pinky finger and  yelled over to Chuck. “It’s pure snow Mr. Brown.” and then puts the bag on table next to Snoop, who sniffs at the pouch a few times. “Of course it is, have I ever let you down?” Pig Pen said while trying to keep his distance from the dog. Chuck gently pats the beagle on the head trying to calm his attack dog down as he stuffs the ziplock bag back into the satchel. “Ya know Pig Pen my dog can smell a liar. He’s got the nose of a blood hound. Looks to me like a bags gone missing.” Chuck pushes Pig Pen across the floor. “Take Mr. Pen outback and show him what we do to people that try to steal from me.” Linus drags back Pig Pen in a headlock kicking and screaming leaving a trail of grim across the warehouse floor. Some other henchmen who are doing some target practice in a small target range in the back muffle his screams for help.

“I don’t know Linus. It’s just hard when you have to stuff a dead guy in the trunk next to the christmas presents.” Chuck is sitting with Linus at a small coffee shop stirring his lukewarm coffee. Most of the patrons have headed for home to start their Christmas celebrations.
“Kinda ruins the spirit of the holidays ya know? Somedays I just wanna get out of the family business especially this time of year.” Chuck sighs as he glances out a side window towards an abandoned parking lot where kids are sliding around on some ice that the salt trucks missed. “Mr. Brown you used to love this time of year. I remember when you dressed up as Santa that one Christmas eve and then we knocked over Franklin’s strip club…what was the name of it?” Linus Said. “The Eager Beaver.” Chuck answered. “Yeah I liked it when Franklin kept screaming “No Santa! no Santa! please not the fingers!” and then you said “you’re on my naughty list!” Linus laughed to himself. “I bet his wife was surprised by the gifts in her Christmas stocking that year.” Chuck lets out a long sigh. “Yeah, those were the good times Linus. good times.”

Chuck Brown

Later that day, Chuck is at his weekly meeting with his psychologist, Lucy Van Pelt, hoping she’ll help get him out of this holiday funk he’s been in lately. She’s one of the more expensive doctor’s in town but she knows how to keep her mouth shut if the cops ever come snoopin’.  “I think you could use some time off, maybe helping the community. Might do you some good to give back a bit.” She scribbles some notes on her small pad not really paying much attention to what Chucks been saying much of the time. She just likes that he pays well and she’s got pretty extensive shopping list this year. “Forgetta about it…I give back plenty…that one guy Woodstock? Yeah he was hocking stolen goods in my neighborhood and dressed up like a big yellow bird…what a fruitcake. I took care of that situation.” Chuck proudly stated. “He wasn’t selling stolen goods Chuck, he was giving out samples from the Big McCluck Chicken Roost diner opening. You shot him in the foot and then rolled him down a hill in a Lincoln.” Lucy retorted. Chuck glanced back at her from his reclined couch. “Yeah, like I said. I took care of the situation!”

Lucy sighs and puts down the notepad to face Chuck obviously a bit agitated.  “Listen, there’s a little holiday dance going down at the community center on Christmas Eve. Well it’s more of a rave but still, I think you should help out. It’ll be a good thing for you and will help get you back in the holiday spirit.”

At first Chuck shrugs it off, but the more he thought about it that afternoon walking back to his upper eastside townhouse, the better it sounded. “What a great alibi” he thought. He had a big heroine shipment coming in Christmas eve hidden in the hollowed out trunks of some plastic Christmas trees that he could have delivered directly to the center. Nobody would suspect a thing and that rave would have plenty of eager customers if he needed to move things quickly. The night of the dance the place was rocking. Christmas lights hung across the gymnasium ceiling beams blinked in time with the music as the new psychobilly punk band Shroedder and the Syphallus  eSpots were blasting out some ear pounding tunes. Most of the people at party had some sort of tie or buy-in with the mofia. The mayor’s daughter, city council members kids..all the kids whose parents paid for rehab and that never showed. Chuck was dressed in his best suit and was doing his typical meet and greets. He was quite well known in social circles. It was a fun night but the thoughts of those fake trees with the hollow trunks kept Chuck on edge. Linus was at the microphone giving a speech and about the spirit of giving in the community. “What a hypocrite” Chuck thought to himself “Linus would stab me in the back the first moment he got.”

There was a toast to the Brown family and a dedication to Chuck’s 98 year old grandmother a rather frail woman who lived outside the city just over the hills and through the woods. Chuck excused himself after the speech and ducks into the back loading docks to meet the arriving shipment. The truck slowly backed up near the door beeping all the way. It was like jingle bells to Chuck’s ears. He anxiously opens the sliding door of the truck but instead of finding a mass amount of fake trees. there’s only one pathetic bonsai tree sitting alone in the middle of the truck. A single red christmas ornament dangeling from it’s top pines needles. “What the heck is this? These aren’t my trees…this is a flippin’ twig? Is this a joke, do I look amused?” Chuck glanced around as if to see who might be the culprit or perhaps the trees were just hidden. The driver came to the back of the truck and looked into the cab, simply shrugging his shoulder “Listen buddy, I just deliver the shipment. I don’t ever know what’s in the truck. That’s between you and Patty.” Chuck took out his pistol and pointed it at the driver “Listen tell your boss that my boss ain’t going to be happy and when he ain’t happy people end up dead.” Chuck was the go to guy since he was the only one that could understand his bosses strange indonesian dialect over the phone where all the deals were made. It sounded like muffled jibber-jabber. 5 years in Cario really did pay off for Chuck’s career in crime.

Reaching down he grabs the scrawny tree by it’s trunk lifting it up and then abruptly smashes it to the  ground. “I can’t believe this…that shipment was supposed to worth 1000’s of dollars and all I got was this tiny lousy shrub?” He tosses the small plant to the corner of a concrete slab near the back door “This is the worst Christmas ever.” and walks back to the party in disgust.

A few minutes later, a group of Chuck’s henchmen come out looking for him but noticed the bonsai lying in a mound of dirt. Marcie who does occasional odd jobs for Chuck bur is also a part-time horticulturalist bends down in her orange evening gown near the plant. She adjusts her glasses a bit as she looks over its twisted branches. “Do you realize what this is? It’s a rare Japanese 5 needled pine juniper!” she exclaims. “uh…does that mean it grows fruit?” one of the henchman asked.  “No you moron, but it’s easily worth $100,000! If we sold this on the black market we’d make a killing.” She quickly gathered the tree back into the pot and mends one of it’s broken limbs then carefully she prunes it with her key ring shrub trimmer. “There all done…it’s not really such a bad looking tree. It just needed a little love.” Marcie said as she carefully places it onto a nearby bench. Chuck returned back outside thinking he may have lost his keys in his little tantrum. “What’s going on here!!!” yelled Chuck pointing at the small shrubery “Chuck, this little tree is worth over $100,000’s. We saved it for you!” Marcie quickly sprays the plant with a pocket mister she just happens to have for such occasions. “Hey look there’s a card attached.” one of the henchmen points out. Marcie hands the card to a puzzled looking Chuck. He opens it. It says “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown, Hope you’ll forgive me for Thanksgiving…Love Patty.”

Chuck glances at the card and then at the tree and begins to get a bit misty eyed. “That Patty she always knew how to find the perfect gift. This Christmas didn’t turn out so bad after all. I think I’ve really learned to value what matters now. ya kknow, what Christmas truly means. I think I can finally tell the boss I’m quitting.” he proudly states to all his henchman as he lifts the small tree in his arms. ” But Mr. Brown, what about the drugs?!” asked Linus. Chuck paused looking down at the little tree. It’s single ornament glittering happily back at him. “Oh make no mistake I’m still going to break her legs as soon as I get opportunity. But I do appreciate the sentiment.”

Epilogue; Mr. Brown was arrested two weeks later on possession of stolen Japanese property from the U.S. Nationa Bonsia Foundation. He pled not guilty in exchange for testiomony against Peppermint Patty who was extradited from Canada. She was running an illegal pharmacutical manufacturing company. Her partner Marcie, was also arraigned in a federal court on marijuana growing and distribution. Mr Brown is now in witness protection as a high school football coach and runs a small bonsai tree shop somewhere outside Newark.

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