Archive for the 'Review by Barry Goodall' Category

Aug

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“The new Head and Shoulder’s shampoo commercial went a bit over the top. But look no dandruff!”

I’m sure many of you are aware of my continuing quest to find the Greatest/worst movie ever put on film. Like Indiana Jones searching for the Lost Ark, I’m seeking that which cannot be viewed. I’m convinced that looking directly at the movie may cause my face to melt off. A weapon such as this cannot fall into Nazi hands or those of a big movie studio, as a remake would surely bring about the end of the world. I’ve only just discovered that I’m digging in the right spot when I unearthed little treasures like “Gymkata”, “Starcrash”, and recently “Troll 2.” “Troll 2” set the bar pretty low, and I thought no other filmmaker would dare match its level of awfulness. It’s like a late 70’s bloated Elvis of bad movies: tacky and greasy, yet still highly entertaining. Well, Elvis, put down that side of ham because here come the Beatles…in the form of a little piece of cinema excrement called “Hard Rock Zombies”, the most vile, horrible excuse for a film to be burned into my retinas. It’s just the sort of movie you want to take a shower after watching from the greasy stain it leaves on your soul. It’s the devil’s armpit of filmmaking for which no wipe-on deodorant could ever mask its vile odor, and yet it’s one of the most entertaining bad films I’ve ever seen.

The film revolves around an un-named rock band, which is preparing for stardom. They have a plan and a van, and that’s all any hard rockin’ musicians with big hair ever really need. After a hard rockin’ night at their big concert, to which maybe a total of 10 people showed, including the trashy groupies, they head to the small, hick town of Grand Guignol. They plan to have another fan-lite concert, despite the warnings of a bushy-eyebrowed under-age girl who has a crush on the lead singer. Along the way they encounter a somewhat limber and very trashy hitchhiker, who just recently offed some guys in a Firebird (deservingly so, just for being “those guys in a Firebird”). She convinces the band into staying at her family mansion near the edge of town instead of a hotel, making the killing that much more convenient. Sort of like Chili’s Car-side to go…of death.

The inhabitants consist of mutant dwarfs, a snuff photographer in a leisure suit, a crazy grandfather who is actually Hitler in disguise, and a werewolf grandma in a wheelchair. By today’s standards, a pretty normal suburban family. The townsfolk aren’t as upset with the Manson family living down the street as they are with having a big hair band in their quiet town, especially one that rides skateboards and do the rope mime act. These are acts punishable by  up to a whole day in a makeshift barn jail, according to town law. After making “bale”– which was probably paid in bottle returns–the rockers are killed-off one-by-one and buried in shallow graves in the backyard of the mansion. Cassie, the bushy-eyebrowed jailbait mourns their loss and plays a recording of one of their songs next to their graves. The side-effect is its power to bring them back from the dead. I’ve known songs by Wham that could slowly and painfully kill people, but not resurrect them.

The zombified band, now looking like the members of Kiss, goes on a revenge spree at the mansion, killing all the residents in various horrific ways and still finding time to put on a concert later that night. The victims then return from the dead as blood-thirsty zombies and proceed to attack the nearby townsfolk. It’s the standard Amway pyramid scheme of zombification. Some of the survivors in town decide the best defense is to hide behind giant cut-outs of famous people like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, while sneaking through the zombie-infested streets. Not surprisingly, the Union picket line fails and they’re eaten alive. Great plan, people. The back-up plan is much better, which is to offer up Cassie as a virgin sacrifice to the undead on a nearby mountain. Ron, the one surviving member of the band, convinces his zombified friends to help rescue Cassie, and lures them into a Nazi-approved gas chamber via some of their hard-rocking Gregorian hits. Portable amps and long extension cords must be a-plenty in this town.

Definitely a must-see for you bad B-movie fans out there. The only film to include both Hitler and a werewolf grandma in a wheelchair. Now that’s something you won’t see on the History Channel.

Keep an eye out for...

– homocidal swimming lessons
– grandma werewolves in wheelchairs
– Nazi weed-wacking
– Amish barn prisons
– Resurrected flies and spiders 
– Zombie music auditions 
– Das Fuhrer of the undead
– Self eating mutant Nazi dwarfs
– Extreme eyebrows
– Record smashin’
– Multiple neck chompings

“Raise the dead for what?” “Probably to mop your floors and paint your house.”

Thanks to badmovies.org for some of the photos check out their great review as well. 

rated 9.4 out of 10 for the movie


Check out the trailer for Hard Rock Zombies

Aug

posted by admin | August 1, 2008 | 80's movies, Cult Film, Musical, Review by Barry Goodall

Comments Off on Xanadu

Xanadu
“The Russian Chernobyl Dance Class gets their groove on.”

When I was a pre-teen, one of my regular weekend hangouts was the local skating rink.  Donning a pair of smelly, rented roller skates, I’d awkwardly traverse the infinite circle of wood floor paneling, while songs from the likes of Pat Benatar and the Thompson Twins blared in my ears.  “Hit me with your best shot” seemed appropriate as I’d collide with concrete support beams or other skaters.  I was pretty good at gaining speed on the straightaways, but would easily lose control on the turns, scraping the outside wall like Cole Trickle in “Days of Thunder.”  But what else are ya gonna do when they start playing REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Rollin’”?  That’s right–you gotta keep on rollin’!

I’d take occasional breaks from the circle death-race in the snack bar areas, but it would take quite a bit of skill to transition from the wood flooring to the green shag carpet without it resulting in a trip to the ER.  It’s a skill you don’t often hear talked about in roller derbies. After a brief snack of caffeine and sugar it was back to the perpetual left turn of roller rink skating, until the DJ announced the dreaded “couples song.”  The young guys, who at the time still believed in cooties and whose voices hadn’t yet changed, scattered to the safety of the sidelines, making room for teenage couples wearing glo-sticks, rolling around hand in hand.  What a strange concept: going to some place to roll around in circles to cheesy 80’s tunes.  This might be a good idea to make other mundane things much more enjoyable, such as waiting in a bank line, or getting your license renewed at the Secretary of State.  If only you could just roll around in a roped-off area while listening to the rockin’ sounds of Kenny Loggins, then time would go buy so much more quickly.

I use Erbal Essence on my hair...it's a totally organic experienceIn the cult classic “Xanadu”, Olivia Newton-John has to put her roller skating skills to the test.  She plays a magical muse named Kira, who is unleashed from a bad 80’s mural painting, along with her muse sisters, by a starving artist named Sonny Malone. Sonny is played by Michael “Call me Swan” Beck of “The Warriors” fame, whose dreams of success go beyond re-painting bad album covers as promotional posters (larger scale printing technology apparently was still in the dark ages during the 80’s.).  Sonny gets a little sugar from Kira on a boardwalk in Venice Beach, and then she turns into a yellow beam of disco light and mysteriously disappears.  That frightful scene of dark magic doesn’t seem to phase him one bit though, as he decides to try to find her on astolen moped.  Who doesn’t love a girl that can re-materialize on a whim, anyway?  Soon she starts showing up in his album paintings, on old TV shows, in the dictionary, and teleports into dark corners.  She’s sort of a Jason Vorhees with leg warmers stalking Sonny.  She then lures him to an art-deco wrestling arena, where she casts an “eye of Newton” love spell on him, and convinces him to give up his crappy day job and start a dance club  with piles of money from Danny, played by the legendary Gene Kelly.

My theory is that Olivia isn’t even a mystical muse as she claims, but she’s actually just a shrewd real estate woman looking for some good investment opportunities.  The glowing is easily explained by a diet high in phosphorus.  Olivia and Sonny express their love by turning into animated fish and vest-wearing birds that dance to songs by ELO.  No, you’re not hallucinating.  I prefer to give a nice box of chocolates and flowers than to transmogrify.  She then enlists the help of Danny, whose mind is permanently stuck in the 1940’s as he hallucinates, talks to his vintage record player, and makes faces at himself in the mirror.  Poor guy, the dementia was already setting in.

Danny and Sonny argue over who dresses more silly See the conspiracy plot unfold as Sonny and Danny turn the run-down arena into a shimmering temple of 80’s decadence called “Xanadu”, where people of every race and creed will be able to roller skate, dance, and perform tight-rope walking.  With mission accomplished, Kira returns to her Purgatory world of endless voids and neon racing stripes, but Sonny’s love for her won’t keep them apart, so he goes to her world to argue with Zeus for her immediate release.  Because if anyone can convince Zeus, it’s a guy in a Hawaiian shirt wearing roller skates!  Xanadu’s opening night is a hit, filled with circus rejects, mimes, 80’s punk rockers, beatniks, ravers, shavers, mash-potaters, and people in pink neon and metallic clothes.  It’s like a Star Trek convention, only with fewer virgins.  Will Sonny and Kira’s love keep them together for a night of Xanadu, or will the Greek gods put a kibosh on their disco plans?

Honestly, by every account I should have absolutely hated this movie/musical.  It’s horrible acting, it’s plot-less, it’s disco, and the cheese definitely goes on thick.  Yet I’ve watched it 3 times already, and my kids love it, as well.  There really is something unique and endearing about this bizarre little film, and the soundtrack by ELO makes this movie shine (or glow in this case).  The film has also been made into a hit Broadway play, even though the original actors claim this film ended their acting careers.  So check out this cult classic, but don’t forget your glo-sticks.

Keep an eye out for...

– ELO-rama
– Roller-Derby dancing
– The high-pro glow dancers
– Gratuitous interior mansion decoration
– Paranormal big band stand apparitions
– Long bikes rides on short piers
– Dancing fish with leg warmers
– Near train collisions
– Skater-fu
– Disco themed Purgatory
– Western theme roller-rink hallucinations
– Illegal use of Gene Kelly in a pimp suit—5 yard penalty.

“Xanadu, it’s like sniffing glue. It’s like dropping acid, too. It’s up to you, Xanadu!” everyone sing!!!

rated 9.6 out of 10 for the movie


YES YOU CAN WATCH THE ENTIRE MOVIE RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!!!! CAN YOU HANDLE THAT??

Jul

posted by admin | July 26, 2008 | 80's movies, Comedy, Cult Film, Cult movies, Review by Barry Goodall

Comments Off on Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Elvira
“I don’t need a seat belt. I have my own built in air bags.”

Before there was the king of late night b-movies, Joe Bob Briggs, there was the hostess with the mostess, the queen of scream, the mistress of the dark, Elvira. Her sarcastic wit and b-movie knowledge was only overshadowed by her huge kuzungas (not sure about the spelling on this one!). Being the Joe Bob fanboy that I am, I still must admit that Elvira is much easier on the eyes than a Texan good ol’ boy in a bolo tie, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Elvira had her own self-titled comedy back in the late 80’s. She certainly had the best double features in film history, so it only made sense to bring them to the silver screen in “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.”

Cassandra Peterson plays the Mistress of the Dark, and if you passed Cassandra on the street, you’d never know it was Elvira’s alter-ego, as they’ve caked on so much Goth makeup it wouldn’t surprise me if Marilyn Manson was actually an impish database programmer from Milwaukee. Elvira is fired from her TV show one day when her Texan good ol’ boy boss tries to “manage her assets.” Elvira’s response is to clock him one. Soon after she learns that a long-lost aunt has died and left her an inheritance. Elvira sees dollar signs and hopes she can use the inheritance and make a new start in Vegas as a sleazy showgirl. Not exactly movin’ on up but every girl has got a dream. She heads across the country in her black “vampmobile” to Massachusetts–apparently where all the rich aunts go to die–but is considered a freak by most of the local townsfolk… Well, except every man and teenage boy within the city limits (even the ones flying over in planes are gawking).

The inheritance turns out to be an old run-down mansion that the Munsters would have proudly called their summer vacation home, so Elvira enlists the help of  some peeping-tom teens to help fix it up Bob Villa-style (only with more cleavage), and hopes to sell it to some poor schmuk  with poor eyesight. Elvira’s surviving uncle, Vincent, turns out to be a rookie warlock whose intent is to steal an ancient recipe book that’s been hidden there, so he can rule the world (or in his case, become even more British…either way it’s concentrated evil). How does a recipe book gives you evil powers, anyway?  Can a properly seasoned meatloaf control the fate of humanity? That might explain Betty Crocker’s rise to power.

To pass the time waiting for a buyer, Elvira puts on a b-movie/flash dance show at the local theater that ends with her getting tarred and feathered. She also laces a casserole for the town picnic with an aphrodisiac potion, and makes a dinner that nearly eats her new boyfriend, Flint McThickneck. He’s a big, burly fellow in plaid, straight from the Brawny paper towel ads, and has about the same amount of acting ability. But he does seem able to stumble through his lines well enough while staring at Elvira’s chest, so I give him points for that skill.

The townsfolk decide they’ve had enough of Elvira’s shenanigans at that Point, so they tie her to a stake in the Town Square for a good old community witch roasting–minus the potato salad. Using her super power decoder ring given to her as a baby, Elvira narrowly escapes under the cover of rain to do battle with the evil warlock, Vincent, and to retrieve the recipe book and make some delicious oatmeal cookies…of EVIL!!!!!! EVIL!!!!! Will Elvira’s huge knockers save humanity? Will her French poodle ever live-down the humiliation of having a haircut like Billy Idol? Will the British ever stop sounding pompous? Find out for yourself in “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.” Retroman says check it out, but watch out for spinning tassels, and always wear eye protection.

Keep an eye out for...

– Exploding gas stations
– Baby Avon callings
– Punk rockin’ poodles and mice, oh my
– Exxon sponsored flash dancing
– Demon spiced stew
– Cooking-obsessed warlocks
– Moral Club picnic orgies
– Casserole Viagra
– Community witch roasts
– Rambo-vira (she’s bringing out the big guns)

“Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow, Elvira” – Alabama

rated 8.3 out of 10 for the movie

 


Check out the trailer for Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Jul

Comments Off on Re-animator

Re-animator

“These late night cosmic bowling parties have gotten way out of hand. Frank’s use of a severed head for league play was proof of that even if it did improve his score average.”

Thirty-four years old and I still hate going to the doctor’s office. First there’s the endless wait in the “waiting room”, but then they call you back to a smaller room that’s yet another waiting room…like it’s some sort of bad horror movie “Waiting Room 2.The Day the Doctor Never Came.” Sure, they say he’ll be in momentarily, but doctor time is on the canine time scale where minutes equal hours. “Soon” actually means “whenever he gets back from lunch.” There are only so many times I can read through the fascinating articles in Golf Digest and Home Pottery Magazine before I resort to the ever-popular games of “Ceiling Tile Counting” or seeing how long I can sleep while sitting up. So finally the doctor magically teleports in and runs through a series of questions the nurse had asked just hours before. “Do you have body aches?” “Yes.”  “Do you have a stuffy head?” “Yes.  Congrats, doc–you’ve just diagnosed that I am not feeling well. Then the prescription is for some over-the-counter medicine that he scribbles on a scrap of paper in cryptic ancient Celtic symbols, along with the advice of, “Get some rest and drink plenty of fluids.” I get charged $30 for the doctor’s visit; my insurance gets charged $3,000; and I go home and crawl back into bed. I should have gone to medical school instead of learning how to paint baskets of fruit.

Doctor Carl Hill in the cult classic “Re-animator” doesn’t really help me with my fear of doctors. He’s the “head” neurosurgeon at the Miskatonic Medical School, where he enjoys peeling cadavers’ heads like oranges in his neurosurgery class, and practices suggestive hypnosis at his dinner parties in the evenings. Our hero Dan Cain, played by Bruce Abbott, is a student there, along with his girlfriend, Megan (Barbara Crampton), and are having some nookie while playing hooky off school grounds. All is happy until Herbert West suddenly appears from a stint in Sweden and insists of being Dan’s new roommate but apparently didn’t read the fine print of no deposit returns in case of blood stains in the apartment lease. West wants to use the basement to perform his continuing studies on re-animating dead flesh, create the ultimate glo-stick, and defy God’s will–typical medical school stuff. Instead of picking the obvious test subjects of a Larry King or John McCain, he uses a dead pet cat, causing the feline to turn into a raging, vicious hell-beast that tries to rip them apart. In other words, your average cat.

Learning from his continuing failures, Herbert is ready to test his re-animation serum on some real stiffs in the morgue. Could this be the ultimate energy drink? He and Dr. Hill sneak in past another dimwitted, made-for-film security guard and inject the serum into a recent accident victim, resulting in a spastic reaction similar to the cat. Then the Dean of the school stumbles in on them, so they shoot him up with some of dead juice, too. Is there a help group for people like this?  Perhaps some sort of DRA (Dead Revivers Anonymous)?

Doc Hill arrives at Herbert’s basement un-announced and plans to take the secrets of the serum and claim it as his own invention. Herbert hits him upside the head with a shovel, and proceeds to remove the doc’s head from his body and re-animate it. Now, that’s how you solve a copyright (an intellectual property?) dispute! But the headless doc outsmarts Herbert, kidnaps Megan, and sneaks into the morgue to perform some group lobotomies. Being decapitated really improves one’s productivity.

Dan and Herbert soon confront the doctor, who is trying to get busy with Megan on an examination table (Can we say, “Sexual harassment lawsuit?”), and then they have to take on a legion of walking dead, exploding chests, and frisky intestine tentacles. Actually med school doesn’t sound very appealing now.

This film is on my Amazon’s Listmania as one of the essential must see cult/b-movies from the 1980’s. It redefines the genre of zombie/mad scientist/dark gore comedies. Well It’s actually the only one in that genre, but it does redefine it. Stuart Gordon directed this classic based loosely on a H.P. Lovercraft short story, as well as another great film, “The Beyond.” Though it did spawn several lackluster sequels, this one is definitely the crown jewel. Also we need to give an honorable mention for Jeffery Combs for creating one of the best horror movie characters in cinematic history, Herbert West. He makes over-acting a work of art. He’s in the same league as Bruce Campbell as Ash for his pure awesome-ness. So check it out, but don’t let your doctor give you that shot of the glowing green stuff,even if he says it’s just to clear your sinuses.

Keep an eye out for…

– Jiffy-Pop eyeballs
– head peeling
– zombie cats
– finger snacks
– labatonomy parties
– skater rink glo-stick overdose
– intestine wranglin’
– padded rooms with a view
– zombie boobies
– horny disembodied heads (is that even possible?)
– the ultimate tribute to the band Talking Heads


rated 9.4 out of 10 for the movie


Check out the trailer for Re-animator

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