Archive for the 'Horror movies' Category

Nov

posted by Doktor | November 3, 2013 | 80's b-movies, B-movies, Horror movies, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

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Tagline: …ora può colpire anche te (Now It Can Also Affect You)

Year: 1980 Runtime: 92 min

Director: Ciro Ippolito & Biagio Proietti

Writer: Ciro Ippolito

Starring: Belinda Mayne, Mark Bodin, Roberto Barrese

As the name would suggest, Alien 2 is a mockbuster hoping to cash in on the fortunes of Ridley Scott’s Alien. This is a Rent-a-Center version as only an Italian could do. What that means is two-fold. First, Ciro Ippolito saw Alien and thought, “That’s awesome. I can do that.” This, of course is a terrible lie, but he thought it nonetheless. Second, the movie has lots of walking, driving, standing around, and long (several minutes) panning shots. I believe Ippolito was trying to build suspense and tension, but what he ended up with was filler. If this movie were food it would be a MSG laden order of #13 Kung Pao Meow Mix.

Alien 2 shares two things with Alien. First, the title. For those not paying attention it would appear to be the next film following Scott’s Alien. Second, there’s an alien which first incubates and then bursts from a person’s body. Chest bursting is pretty hard-core, but Ippolito wanted to go full METAL \m/, so his alien is a face burster. This might have been pretty sweet if he had money to light the shots with the alien. It’s so dark you can’t make out much. The few times an alien is in the light it’s jumping from person to person with screen time somewhere in the fraction of a second duration.

There’s not really a story, so much as there is an idea for a story. Some aliens get into a returning space capsule. How? Dunno. Before the capsule is opened they get out and spread all over the world. How? Dunno. The aliens are blue rocks, perhaps eggs, I dunno for sure, that’s just what we get.

There’s a group of speleologists who find one of the rock eggs and take it with them on their trip into a local cavern. In the cave the rock egg hatches and starts killing the members of the group one by one. When they discover what’s going on the group makes a frantic run for it, resulting in them getting hopelessly lost.

When everyone else in the group dies the Final Couple, Roy and Thelma, instantly find their way out. The technical term for this is Convenience ex Machina. While that was contrived, at least the Final Couple didn’t try to pass off the pretense of not leaving and/or saving their friends before they left. They were like, “See ya!”

Making it out of the cavern wasn’t all it was cracked up to be though. Back in the real world everyone is gone. EVEN at the local bowling alley, which is crazy because that place always has tens of people in it. Roy goes to investigate and…

Then there was one.

Oh! The horror of the abandoned automated bowling alley! Well, not quite abandoned. There’s still Thelma and the Aliens. Thelma escapes to find that the world is now cast in a shade of red. She’s all alone. Her cries for help echo in the empty streets.

Cut to black title card: “…You May Be Next!”

While overall the movie was lacking in substance, I did learn a few interesting things.

First, cave rats are sensitive to sonar equipment. This is important to know because if you should find yourself lost in a cave/cavern and you use your portable sonar device to find your way out, you might get attacked by a cave rat. Well, not you personally, but the sonar equipment. They go straight for the antennae, which not only renders the device inert, but voices your warranty.

Non-functioning sonar equipment can be used as a walkie-talkie. Not in real life, but in cheap movies where you need filler and don’t have the props.

B-Movie Survival Tip: if you’re walkie-talkie doesn’t instantly work, don’t immediately toss it away like grandma when she becomes a burden to the family. It might still be functioning. Take out the batteries and blow on them. It works 99.9% of the time.

You can watch the full movie here.

roadside attractions

  • Listen to the confused early industrial synth/spaghetti western sound track!
  • Marvel at the shameless use of NASA stock footage for the “space” scenes! And the movie even admits it!
  • Ponder Thelma’s mysterious powers of telepathy, or insanity—whatever, same difference!
  • Watch the most eager-to-separate group in all of horror filmdom get exactly what’s coming to them!
  • Experience the terror of an abandoned automated bowling alley!
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

It’s an ITALIAN Rent-a-Center Alien. Half the budget was for blood.

2

blood

BREASTS

I’m going with the Rick James vote: “I wish I had more hands so I could give this film’s lack of gazongas four thumbs down!”

5

beast

BEASTS

Face bursting aliens sounds cool, but they didn’t execute the visuals very well. Mostly it’s just them as blue rocks. Mostly.

5.666 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “Alien 2: On Earth”

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Oct

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Maniac
1980 – Unrated – Blue Underground

If there is one thing that the 80’s did for us (besides give us cocaine and Alf), it was install a paranoia in us through movies. Horror movies were evolving, becoming more horrifying and grotesquely more realistic. We were looking over our shoulders constantly and assuming any sound in the middle of the night was a murderer that broke into our homes. These movies also outraged sensitive cinema goers, claiming this type of movie breeds wackos. One such film would be simply be called Maniac and with a title like that, you should know what you’re walking into. Yet for audiences back then, they were disturbed by what they saw. Could it have really been that sadistic?

When the special effects are done by Tom Savini, the man who did Dawn of the Dead and was fresh off the gruesomely reviewed Friday the 13th, combine that with William Lustig, a guy whose earlier works were porn, you should know what you are walking in to. Actor Joe Spinell brought such a twisted and yet realistic spin on the psychotic main character Frank Zito, that you would think with this flick, the premise was so alarming and the effects were disturbingly visceral, that anybody watching the film didn’t think a murder could be depicted with such ferocity and carnage and shame on them for being so naive. The combination of these three men bring this film to deranged new levels and showcase a level of mayhem to be unmatched. It angered feminists, critics hated it, so let’s degrade ourselves and plunge into the filthy world of a psychopath!

maniac_2As a couple snuggles up on the beach, a prowler watches from one of those… binocular things… I forget what they are called, but you use to find them in large cities and you put a quarter in them and you can see the city. Anyway, after rolling around on each other like pale leather bags in a mildewy blanket, the man leaves to gather firewood… on the beach. It doesn’t take long for him to be garroted by the prowler, who then sneaks up on the sleeping girlfriend and slices her neck. Her screams fade into overweight, sweaty killer known as Frank, as he shoots up out of bed in a cold sweat, screaming like a lunatic and crying and judging how the interior of this small apartment is decorated, I’d wake up screaming and crying every day too.

Later that evening, two prostitutes (one of which is very eager for that one last trick to pay rent, son) see Frank, who is probably the shadiest looking person in an already shady area, takes one of the streetwalkers upstairs where he has her model like in them fancy magazines. Within moments, he charms the lady of the night by showing the size of his… money clip and starts making out with her pretty intensely, rolling on top of her and for that, believe me, I think she earned that cash. Have you ever put a warm, doughy dinner roll on top of a green bean? Well anyway, Frank starts to become frustrated and chokes this hooker to death and crying immediately afterwards. I’ve heard of crymaxing, but killmaxing? Is that a thing? As he mutters to her, “Why did you make me do it?” he scalps her using a box cutter, which I have to say, watching this will make you flinch in pain. That’s your grotesque Savini special effects at work for you there.

So what exactly is Frank doing with these scalps? If he were Apache, they would be trophies of some sort, but we actually aren’t too far off. Frank nails the scalps to the heads of mannequins that he’s dressed in the clothes of his recent victim, thus in his mind, honoring the person and allowing them to live on forever. It seems Frank feels what seems to be a motherly attachment to them, talking to them and scolding them, which makes sense seeing as it’s often hinted throughout the film that he had mother issues.

maniac_4Leaving his apartment once again with a disassembled 12 gauge shotgun in a trumpet case, he follows a couple out of a disco (yeah, those existed at one point) to what kids would call ‘make-out point.’ The stud in this scene, by the way, is played by Tom Savini, who is desperately trying to get ‘some’. The floozy is resistant at first, but who can resist a mustache as powerful as that? Tom Savini’s mustache has rivaled other great ‘staches in history, like Tom Selleck’s. After some serious necking in the backseat, the woman sees Frank peeping through the window like a little kid at the zoo and talks Savini into leaving. Flicking on the headlights, they see Frank standing in the night. He pounces on the windshield, armed with his shotgun and blows Tom Savini’s head off. And I meant right the freak off, spraying gallons of blood and whatever foods happened to be on the Kraft services table that evening. This scene is so graphic, it could give the head explosion scene from Scanners a run for its money.

After proving to those two that disco is dead, Frank cries himself to sleep after a healthy internal monologue about “stopping the fancy women” and handcuffing himself to a mannequin. He wakes up for a midday stroll through the park, where a photographer, Anna (played by ex-Bond girl Caroline Munroe), snaps a shot of him. Frank notices and casually strolls up to her belongings, snagging her address and goes about his day (cue non-conspicuous whistling).

Since they had to bore you with that scene of exposition, they throw you a bone and kill another woman. This time, a young nurse decides to reject a ride home from a friend and tread home solo in the middle of the night, while reading a newspaper with the headline, “MANIAC KILLS TWO MORE!” She soon notices she is being stalked and tries running through the subway station, hiding in a bathroom. This scene is heavily borrowed in other movies, including Alexander Aja’s High Tension (he would later go on to produce the remake of Maniac!) and it’s probably due to not only its pacing, but the idea of a stranger tracking you through a vacant space and having to hide with no escape. After a few moments, she believes the killer has fled, losing interest and as she washes her face in the sink, Frank stabs her through the back with a bayonet.

maniac_5Eventually the filmmakers realize that even a movie called Maniac can’t be composed completely of scenes that depict brutal murders of women, so Frank pays a visit to Anna, but in a very friendly and possibly romantic manner. Dressed nicely, he invites her to dinner to which she accepts and believe it or not, but the two seem to be hitting it off and it comes across as very authentic. Wanting to see him again, Anna invites Frank to one of her photo shoots, where Frank humbly arrives and everything seems innocent enough, until he meets Rita. Frank steals a necklace of hers and leaves the set, only to pay a visit to Rita’s home late a night with the necklace, posing as just a friend returning it. But would a friend kidnap you and tie you up? Maybe, but certainly not in a hostile, psychotic manner. With Rita kidnapped, Frank paces and spouts off about being abused and being left all alone, which implies he is most likely talking about his mother. Frank tells her that she will never leave him again, as he plunges a switchblade right into her chest and adding her scalp to a growing collection of mannequins.

Well this is becoming downright depressing! Maybe a visit from Anna will perk him right up. Frank picks her up to take her to a show, but a quick detour at his mother’s grave in the cemetery before hand. No sign of this night going sour, especially as the sky turns black and the fog rolls in. At the grave, Frank begins to blubber like a baby and as Anna tries to console him, he tries to choke her. I’m sure he likes to think of it as ‘hugging her neck’, but Anna fights him off and even slices his arm open with a shovel. Wounded, Frank chases after Anna, but slows down and seems to become lost… especially mentally as he hears his mother’s voice calling out for him, bringing him to his knees. And then like true Savini fashion, the rotten corpse of his mother bursts from the ground and terrorizes him! If he hasn’t lost his mind already, he certainly is now. Back at his home after fleeing the cemetery, he cries to himself as he notices that the mannequins are slowly becoming alive and they are very unhappy.

Maniac is a film that makes you feel filthy and unclean for watching it, but that’s what I love about it. It’s a character study of a truly, deeply disturbed human being. You’re audience to his personal torment and are forced to watch his violent actions. But there is a sympathetic side, as he weeps and talks nonsense to himself, you can feel the misguidance he had growing up and can’t help but feel sorry for him. It’s at the moment you begin to question why you are on his side. He’s done such vile things, are you supposed to feel that way? But that’s another thing that makes this movie great; you root for the bad guy without even knowing it.

Maniac
With an anathema you love to hate or hate to love, a dark and seedy look into his sick, perplexed world, overflowing with gore and other gross stuff, it’s enough to make you question your own sanity. At the dawn of the slasher flick era, Maniac stood above them as the indisputable champ of shocking horror, visually and methodically. It is perhaps the darkest serial killer pic since Psycho and would pave way for others, such as Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. If there is anything positive to take away from the film, it’s that Frank was able to score a babe like Anna. So that means maybe there is hope for some of us.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Sleeping and peeping.
  • Nightmare apartment.
  • Is Frank Zito gonna have to choke a broad?
  • Scalping sicko.
  • Sweaty and crying… or hungry?
  • Buck shot cranium massage!
  • Bond babe!
  • Zombie mom issues.
  • Torn to pieces!
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

The scalping looked good for the time, but the shotgun scene will make your head explode…

7

blood

BREASTS

Bubble bath included.

10

beast

BEASTS

Joe Spinell doesn’t play Frank Zito… he seemingly IS Frank Zito and it’s downright terrifying.

8.6 OVERALL
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News report on the controversy it caused.

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Watch the trailer of “Maniac!”

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Oct

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Maniac
2012 – Not Rated – IFC Midnight

Remakes are a very fickle subject. Films that are often being remade, are those that are regarded as high ‘cult’ status and have a large and not to mention intense fan base. So, it goes without saying that when rumors were rumbling that William Lustig’s serial killer masterpiece Maniac was being fitted for a remake, it would be critically disapproved before it was even made. This disapproval seemed to settle into gentle curiosity when High Tension director Alexander Aja was attached and shortly after the casting of Elijah Wood in the role of Frank Zito, not only were we curious, but they had our attention as well. Sure enough, we were watching the production of this film under a microscope and growing more interested with every shred of news.

It’s also tricky reviewing a remake. It will, of course, be compared to the original, which in most cases, is far superior (if not only for nostalgic reasons). But you have to remember to look at it as its own entity and judge it based on its own merit. After all, do you really want to see the same thing rehashed exactly the same way (remember the Psycho remake)? Like I said, it’s very challenging to remake and modernize a horror film, so how does Franck Khalfoun’s rendition of the classic hold up?

It starts off similar enough, with Frank stalking his prey. Only this time a young woman decides to walk home from a night club all by herself, unaware that Frank is watching her (as we watch from his POV) from his truck. After one of the best opening music soundtracks in this generation, Frank meets her at her apartment, unbeknownst to her though. He cuts the power, darkening the corridor and walks behind her, breathing heavily until she is about to enter her apartment. Hesitant to turn around, he tells her, “Please don’t scream,” and before she can, he plunges a giant Bowie knife under her chin. Gently he caresses her face and removes the knife to scalp her and then in big, bold, confident and alarming red letters as big as the screen, the title MANIAC appears before fading to black. Right out of the gates, the movie doesn’t hold back any punches and doesn’t shy away from disturbing you.

maniac_2As Frank wakes up and goes about his daily routine, makes coffee, hallucinates that a girl is in his bed (you know, the usual stuff), you may be noticing that it hasn’t switched out of his POV and that is what not only separates this remake from the original, but from pretty much every other film out there. Keeping in theme with the original, Frank staples the scalp to a mannequin while talking with it. So just in case you weren’t sure he was a few cans short of a six pack, this should tip you off. Continuing, we get a look into how this movie is ‘modernized’ as Frank stalks and sets up potential kills via dating websites. It actually makes good sense and clearly illustrates every single person’s worst fear, but now it’s going to make it harder for me to score a date… especially when we watch this!

A quick online dating success later, he meets up with a cute little trollop named Lucy. It’s during this dinner that we get a look into Frank’s psyche, as the radial blur filters the screen, he sees everyone in the restaurant staring at him and blood trickles down Lucy’s face. It’s never explained exactly what this condition is, though he calls them migraines. They seem to quickly reside after he pops a few pills. Unfortunately, they effects don’t last long. Lucy invites him over for a drink and he insists that he needs to leave, but nervous guys that she can domineer are her thing. She dances around her apartment to ‘Goodbye Horses’, made popular in Silence of the Lambs and forever stapling it to all things creepy. Overcome with homicidal tendencies, he strangles her and scalps her, thus acquiring a new girlfriend (in his mind), after he staples the scalp on a mannequin, of course.

It’s interesting to note that this kill is somewhat different from the others in the film, in that he is hesitant to kill her and almost seemingly resists. He even throws up afterwards and weeps, possibly indicating that he was beginning to like Lucy and did not want to kill her. It adds a whole new dimension to the character and not just a showing the typical ‘kill the women mindlessly’ slasher trend. But now I’m getting off track.

maniac_3This is when we are introduced to the lovely Anna, who will become the love interest of sorts to Frank. She wakes him the next morning by taking photos of his mannequins outside his shop window. Feeling a desirable, artistic connection, he invites her inside to look at his work. When he isn’t doing the Apache scalp to women, Frank restores antique mannequins out of a shop he inherited from his mother, who recently died. The two bond and create a friendship, perhaps with an unspoken romance and you can really see it in their eyes. More specifically her eyes, as the actress, Nora Arnezeder, has to stare into the camera as if she is looking deeply and affectionately into Frank’s eyes and she does this convincingly well. You’ll fall in love with her as she looks past the camera and into your eyes, piercing your soul. But how long can Frank subdue his murderous impulses?

As the two spend more time together, it’s noticeable (to the audience) that Frank is falling for Anna. It’s actually quite charming to see him become smitten by her. Maybe it’s the way she looks at us, the audience, that we are falling in love with her! The very mention that she has a boyfriend gives him a “migraine” like before with Lucy. He goes out of his way to take non prescription pharmaceuticals to control these sinister urges, but unfortunately like all classic monster movies, the beast has to come out. He follows a girl home from a dance studio, chases her through a subway and into a parking lot where perhaps the most daunting and brutal murder of the film takes place, as hides under a car, slicing her Achilles tendon as she walks by and stabbing her repeatedly in the back until finally scalping her and posing by a car, so that his reflection resembles the original movie poster. It’s actually a clever nod, seeing as how we don’t get the infamous bathroom or shotgun scenes.

Having borrowed some of Frank’s mannequins for an art show, Anna invites him to said show where everyone seems to be judgmental of the two, but they are lost in each other’s creativity, as Frank and Anna speak, you really get a sense of the tragedy that they most likely will not end up together. At this point, it’s really debatable if this is a love story or not. You want nothing more than for her to save him from all his troubles. You want Frank to tell Anna that he loves her and maybe that’s the true horror of this film and not the murders; that Frank and Anna will never be together. And as if seeing Anna with her beau wasn’t enough to crush his spirits, he’s ridiculed by him for potentially being a closet homosexual (jocks at an art show… this IS fiction) and then by Anna’s manager. Frank follows her home and in a rather disturbing scene, Frank watches her bathe for a moment, just before dunking her head underwater. He then begins yelling at her as if he were yelling at his mother for the terrible things she did and then scalping her. It’s in this scene where you think maybe Frank doesn’t believe that he is killing anyone, but helping them to live on forever.

maniac_4After receiving the news that her manager is dead, Anna calls up Frank who is more than happy to console her. However, Frank lets a few things slip as you watch Anna’s facial expressions change from sad, to quizzical, to horrified as she realizes Frank is a killer. Realizing she is in terrible danger, she now fights off the psychotic Frank, who tells her he wants nothing more than to help her and take her away, all leading to a very dark, but unfortunately for Frank, fitting end.

In a word, Maniac is intense. Although it contains the same elements and ideas of the original, it feels like a completely different beast. But that’s how a remake should feel. For starters, the entire movie is shot from Frank’s POV, with a few exceptions where the camera will come out from his eyes and we see him committing horrendous acts of violence, which is incredibly effective as you see the murder through the killer’s eyes, then transition to be an audience to it. Frank himself is quite different, being an unassuming, charming young man rather than the chubby, greasy (no offense) counterpart and Elijah Wood plays this role eerily convincing. It’s seriously my favorite portrayal of a character in a long time. Elijah Wood ‘kills’ it! We also go into his childhood quite a bit and examine his mother issues, which there aren’t that many. So it feels like the film could do without these scenes and still work, but the way they are shown is pretty traumatizing. Especially when you see little Frank’s mother getting gang banged as he watches from the closet… and she knows he’s in there. Ah, brings back memories.

As I said before, the entire cinematography is from the point of view of Frank. We are looking through his eyes, which you would think could get nauseating or even be distracting, but the shots are smooth and don’t bob around so much like it would with a free hand found footage type of movie. This also makes viewing it ghastly, like you are a part of this macabre destruction and gore. Speaking of gore, Maniac may not contain the famous head explosion like the original, but it has more than enough repulsive violence and bloodshed to go around! A majority of the effects are practical (or a combination of composite shots) and seeing Frank use his buck knife or straight razor to remove his victims scalps, then slowly pull them off may require you to prepare barf bags before viewing. And to further shake your core, the score by Rob is a simple one, reminiscent of John Carpenter, with an easy synth beat and heavy stings, but always fitting the mood of the movie.

Maniac
While it does take the idea of the original and stays true to the classic, it does take its own path while it tells its own story. I guess you could call it an ‘updated version’ (and by that I don’t mean they use computers and cell phones… although they do). Maniac is most definitely a modern day horror film that will eventually become a classic on its own merit, rather than lurking in the shadow of William Lustig’s original 1980 shocker. In fact, this may very well spawn clones of POV serial killer movies, which will soon become annoying, just like all found footage and possession movies. Check out Maniac, alone or on a date… but not with anyone you met on a dating website.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Frank the Apache.
  • Mannequin makeover.
  • Goodbye horses… goodbye, Lucy!
  • Strangers on a subway.
  • Maniac Migraine.
  • If you have a mommy issue, reach for a tissue.
  • Grand Theft Anna.
  • Frank spills his guts.
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

Blood and guts galore with plenty of scalping.

8

blood

BREASTS

All kinds and all sizes for the kiddies!

10

beast

BEASTS

Although a bit more sympathetic, Elijah Wood ‘kills’ it as Frank. He pulls off totally unassuming and totally bonkers.

9 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by Doktor | October 25, 2013 | 80's b-movies, B-movies, Horror movies, Review by Doktor

Comments Off on The Being

Tagline: The Ultimate Terror has Taken Form…

Year: 1983 Runtime: 82 min

Director: Jackie Kong

Writer: Jackie Kong

Starring: Martin Landau, Marianne Gordon, Bill Osco

The 50’s might have loved the atom, particularly splitting it to use for energy, but by the 80’s popular opinion had taken a decidedly oppositional turn. The Being is one of the many nuclear-waste-is-mutating-us-into-monsters movies.

The story goes like this:

Pottsville, Idaho is a small town. Much like any small town across these United States. The exception is they’ve got a metric manure-ton of potatoes and the population are all retarded mongoloids. This is most likely not their fault because the town is home to a nuclear chemical dump site that pumps directly into the town’s aquifer. The waste dump is directly adjacent to a junk yard, the town’s air field, and finally a cyanide and sulfuric acid factory.

Hmmm…

Now that I think about it, maybe Pottsville is getting exactly what it deserves. The nuclear chemical dump site is a joke, despite the mayor calling it, “The most sophisticated dump site in the country.” What does such a refined establishment look like? There are 50 gallon drums strewn about willy-nilly. The facility, if you can call a couple metal shacks a facility, are protected by a chain fence which is locked down with a chain that almost keeps the gates closed. Having secured the grounds so thoroughly, no one is on duty patrolling the site. Ever. Oh, and did I mention that the dump leaks directly into the town’s aquifer?

But don’t worry, Dr. Martin Landau, Idaho’s State Scientist, says it’s a-OK.

Recently there have been a rash of missing persons which has the authorities baffled. Considering the authority leading up the case, opening a can of already opened sardines is an insurmountable mental effort, but more on him later. We, the audience, know the missing persons are victims of the mutant monster.

It’s never fully explained, or explained at all actually, what created the monster, but the scuttlebutt is, according to the suppository of all worldly cinematic knowledge, IMDb, a local boy was mutated into The Being. There is Marge, the crazy lady running around in her nightgown looking for her son Michael, whom I believe to be the movie’s attempt to explain the origin of The Being, but without the Cliff Notes I wouldn’t have worked that out. Then again, my IQ dropped twenty points while viewing The Being, leaving me with, at best, 50 to work with, so that might account for my not “getting” the subtler points.

The Being has some interesting powers. It’s a cyclops. I’m not sure if that should be considered a power or not, but it is what it is. It is super strong, i.e. can punch through a car’s roof and still rip off a person’s heads with ease. It can tunnel faster than Bugs Bunny, and always makes the left turn at Albuquerque. It has off-screen teleportation, which means when it’s not in front of the camera it can be anywhere—a fairly standard movie monster power. It can instantaneously dissolve/eat it’s victims. When it’s dead it explodes. I think the detonation has something to do with dismembering it, but I’ll need to research this further to be sure.

The Being’s molecular structure breaks down in the light. I think this is supposed to be a weakness, but they never exploit it. There is one scene where it’s trapped in a walk-in freezer and the light is on. This turns it into a puddle, allowing it to escape. And, seeing as how it can turn itself into jelly, maybe it’s less of a weakness and more of a strength. I’ll leave it to you to decide which column that ability belongs in ‘cos thinking about it make my brain hurts.

On the weakness side, it is susceptible to sulfuric acid and being cut into pieces with an axe. This is excellent because detective Mortimer Lutz, our hero, stumbles into both at the critical moment.

Speaking of Lutz, although he is the protagonist, he is the worst of the window-lickers on the short bus.   When it gets to the final boss scene at the nuclear dump/cyanide factory, Lutz’s plan is to turn on several cyanide canisters, that are face level, while he’s gasping for air from all the running around, and then he puts on his gas mask. He proceeds to turn on more canisters, all while in a closed area, sporting a huge open wound on his upper thigh. Sigh.

Even rocket surgeons know Lutz would be dead.

After evading the monster for a few minutes, it pulls his gas mask off, beats him up, and throws him into a rack of sulfuric acid. Some of the containers drop to the floor and break open, releasing clouds of toxic vapor all around him—to go with the already toxic cyanide. Yet Lutz manages to breathe with only a slight cough while hacking the creature to bits.  With The Being finally dead, Lutz climbs up a chain, several stories, through the poisonous air, to the skylight. He breaks out a pane and climbs to freedom. Yippee!

I suppose it’s a good thing Lutz wasn’t the one who mutated. He would have been invincible.

roadside attractions

  • Learn youself some country metaphors like “sneaking up on us like a hongry hound dog on a T-bone steak”!
  • Marvel at the space available in late 70’s early 80’s cars—enough to fully stretch out for lurvin’ at the drive-in!
  • Wonder at why Martin Landau is in this film! (Money for “the hootch?”)
  • Muse on to how three people (Bill Osco, Rexx Coltrane and Johnny Commander) are credited for one part—and all three still manage to have less range than Keanu Reeves!
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Ripped off heads, fist through the back tearing out the deputy’s heart, pieces of Martin Landau, and Ruth Buzzi, dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West, crying blood.

10

blood

BREASTS

Even the movie within the movie has breasts. AWE-some!

5

beast

BEASTS

Just The Being, but he’s an impressive one.

8.333 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “The Being”

trailers

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Oct

posted by admin | October 15, 2013 | 50's b-movies, Drama, Horror movies, Reviews by the Goon, Suspense

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House of Wax
1953 – Not Rated – Warner Bros.

They stare at you with lifeless eyes that seem to follow you no matter where you go, wax sculptures are pretty damn creepy. Or maybe it’s how real and unassuming they are and that they could grab you as you pass by. It could be a million reasons, most of them I don’t know, but they get under your skin. I’m surprised more movies don’t feature killer wax people, but maybe it’s because the bar was set a little too high in House of Wax.

A remake of the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum, this film opens up and escalates to speculative and terrifying quickly. Very quickly. Professor Henry Jarrod (played by Vincent Price) masterfully sculpts wax figures that are so lifelike, you would swear that they were palpable. Among his collection, he hails his Marie Antoinette to be his masterpiece. He walks around talking to his sculptures, seemingly having private conversations with them. As this scene goes on, you are becoming more and more aware of how quiant and detached from humanity he is. He seems pretty batty, but most great artists weren’t exactly sane. Jarrod could make a fortune if he were to “sell out”, which his business partner Matthew Burke encourages him to do. But Jarrod is in it for the art, not the money and if we learned anything from Aliens, anyone named Burke is all about the fame and fortune. He starts dumping gasoline all over the place like he has more important things to do, intending to torch it and cash in the insurance policy. Before they can discuss it, like a true pyro, he sets the place ablaze. He was that confident it was a solid plan, that he didn’t even need to think it through. Or maybe he likes to burn buildings down. Either way, Jarrod reasonably becomes enraged and desperately attempts to save his sculptures as they melt like cheese, eyeballs falling out of their heads. After being attacked by Jarrod, Burke fights him and throws gasoline all over Jarrod, leaving him to die in the fire.

how_3Time passes and Burke seems to be living it up. That is, until he’s murdered by a disfigured man, along with his fiance, Cathy. Cathy’s friend Sue Allen happens to find her carcass there with the disfigured man hovering over it and chases her out the window and down the street (cue Benny Hill music). She manages to escape the horror and inform the police. It’s then that they are discovering that Cathy’s body, along with several others, have disappeared from the morgue. Who would steal bodies? With the McRib making a comeback, it would make sense that McDonald’s could be the culprit, but we all know they use former boy band members. Could it be that Jarrod survived and is exacting revenge? Nah, that would be crazy.

Well, I guess it is crazy since eighteen months pass and it seems Jarrod has opened a new wax museum called “Chamber of Horrors” that showcases horrific crimes in history… and current ones, as Burke’s death is displayed there. However, Jarrod didn’t escape unharmed. He’s bound to a wheelchair and no longer has use of his hands. He’s assisted by a deaf-mute, Igor (Charles Bronson). I was kinda hoping he would have a hump on his back, but I guess that’s a different Igor. So, who’s making this wonderful statues? He has hired a top sculptor, Leon, who is basically like the Michael Jackson of sculpting. The movie has slowed down the pace noticeably by this point as Scott, who has grown fond of Sue Allen, decides to take her mind of her recent tragedies and takes her on a tour of the wax museum that showcases horrific murders. Sue Allen can’t help but feel uneasy by the Joan of Arc display, noticing that it bears an uncanny resemblance to her recently deceased friend Cathy, right down to her pierced ears. You can probably tell where this is going, but it’s the journey getting there that makes this movie shocking and fun to watch. Jarrod becomes hypnotically charmed by her and seems to think she would make the perfect model of Marie Antoinette. Finding that Scott also happens to be a sculptor (geez, how many sculptors are there?), he offers him a job based on that reason. Way to play, playa.

But that Joan of Arc sculpture sure has given Sue Allen the heebie jeebies. Bringing the police along with her to the wax museum, they take note that John Wilkes Booth looks an awful lot like a murdered city official whose body is missing. Eh, it’s probably a coincidence.

how_4Taking a Scooby Doo style approach, Sue checks out the museum and takes a closer look at the Joan of Arc sculpture (how infatuated is this woman?). But she accidentally knocks the wig off and sees the blonde hair underneath, coming to the conclusion that it looks like Cathy, because IT IS Cathy! Oh, if it weren’t for you meddling kids. This is actually quite a shocking turn. I suppose next they are going to reveal that Jarrod can actually walk and is only pretending to be handicapped… Well, son of a…

In one of the coolest effects ever, Jarrod finally grabs hold of Sue and she begins to give him a rap on the brow repeatedly as his face shatters away to reveal that he was the disfigured man committing all the murders! Meanwhile this is happening, Leon is rolling over on Jarrod to the police, revealing everything and basically handing him on a platter. Little advice to all you inspiring criminals out there: If you’re gonna go in business with someone, make sure you can trust them not to reveal your plot to the authorities. Cats out of the bag now! The Police and Scott make haste to rescue Sue before she becomes a wax statue and end this movie on a positive note.

House of Wax
Not only is House of Wax the first color 3-D picture to be shot by an American studio, it’s also one of the first horror roles Vincent Price starred in and right away, you can tell he has a knack for it. From the first moment you see him have a conversation with a lifeless sculpture, you can feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. And he does this even before he has the makeup on! There is a good reason he is known as “The Merchant of Menace.” It’s been said a million times and it goes without saying, but I’m going to go ahead and say it: This is without a doubt one of the best horror classics. It’s a true insight into how frightening these actors could play their characters, how special effects could shock you and how dark and violent a movie can be without gore. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you. It’s been sixty years, for crying out loud! Just don’t watch the 2005 remake. It’ll make your skin melt… and it has Paris Hilton.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • We don’t need no water, let the mother burn.
  • Vincent Price, Street Brawler.
  • “Hanging” around.
  • Pre-Freddy Krueger.
  • Braindead Bronson.
  • Is there a sculptor in the house?
  • Bikini wax of death!
  • Wheelchair Psyche.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

No blood, but wax sculptures melt in a way that will make your stomach turn.

2

blood

BREASTS

This was made before boobs were invented.

9

beast

BEASTS

If Charles Bronson as a menacing thug ain’t spooking ya, Vincent Price sure will.

5.3 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer!”

trailers

dripper

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