Archive for the 'Reviews by the Goon' Category

Jun

Comments Off on Slink

necronomicon

Women, am I right? They always be shopping! I mean, how many purses do you need, lady? I have one wallet and that works just fine. But I guess it’s the consumer mentality of having the latest and greatest. In Slink, it’s these fabulous designer handbags that people are just dying to get their hands on!

Meet Dale, who runs the local tanning salon. Only at this place, the only memberships they have are lifetime… which isn’t very long! After a patron shows interest in applying for a job, Dale talks it over with his wife Joan, who decides it’s probably best to murder her instead. “We could offer her a free tan first!” exclaims Dale, before her head is belted in with a hammer, showcasing the film’s subtle dark humor.

Cut to our protagonist Kayla, discussing with her friend Lindsay that Lindsay’s sister has the hots for Kayla (sounds like that would be quite an interesting sub plot…). Further in the discussion, we learn that Kayla’s uncle Arlo has recently passed and she travels to the small town of Wickenhaven to gather Arlo’s ashes from probably the most odd funeral home directors who seemed like they escaped of the set of Twin Peaks. Upon inquiring where she could buy a charming local gift (damn Yankees), she is told to try the nearby Virgin Leathers, which happens to be owned by Joan and I’m sure you can guess what kind of material those purses are made from…

brainstormKayla, along with her dope smoking friend Courtney, arrive at Uncle Arlo’s only to find that someone else is there… someone claiming to be their Aunt May, who looks might fine for being an Aunt (Peter Parker, eat your heart out!). Trying to connect with the girls, Aunt May reveals that Uncle Arlo may not have died from natural causes, but instead he was murdered. Now it was at this point, I noticed that the characters all talk with that ‘Valley Girl’ accent, which I found to be a bit annoying, but not distracting. Just a personal opinion, but not one to hinder my viewing experience.

Anyway, this is when Kayla heads over to the tanning salon, where Dale, who just killed a young girl and cleaned it up just in time, is friendly enough to let her tan for free. Of course, I’m sure she wouldn’t have agreed to it if she had known he’s in the backroom taping the sessions and giggling to himself. Always read the fine print, sister. This is when Courtney gets a phone call from her father who tells her that they don’t have an Aunt May and he’s coming to get to the bottom of everything! It doesn’t take long for him to arrive and confront her, but his accusations may be premature and Aunt May tells him that she is Arlo’s half sister (uh, you buying that?). Well this is when all the crazies come out, as Aunt May calls Dale and talks about a “big surprise” for the girls.

This is where the movie throws in some real dirty, but welcomed, sleaze. While Courtney is sleeping, Aunt May, barely dressed, climbs on top of her and suffocates her with a bag. There goes the film’s only stoner. But the intensity doesn’t stop there. Kayla goes back to the tanning salon the next morning for another session. He tricks her into rubbing this poison all over herself by telling her it’s a new tanning oil, which I’m sure something like that in no way smells viciously toxic. Once Kayla passes out, she is handed off to the skilled Aaron, in charge of skinning all the girls. By now you’re beginning to see this family come together and true characteristics shine, reminding one of the Sawyer’s from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Well if you’re going to be a villain, you should damn well play it good. Aunt May stops by the house in the morning, telling the girl’s father that they turned Arlo into a purse. Then what ensues is a silly, but short fight, resulting in him getting stabbed. But what of Kayla? She wakes up in time, saving her own skin right before she is, um… skinned. Fighting for her survival, she runs from Aaron, who puts up a pretty good chase and I have to say, it looks like both actors take some abuse during this chase. Will she escape? Will she survive?

This brings the film into its finale, which I have to say kind of ends abruptly. It doesn’t exactly resolve itself, but instead sets itself up for a sequel or it just ends with no intention of concluding or continuing. Or perhaps the filmmakers wanted to intentionally leave it that open for the sake of ‘just because’ and instead make the viewer think that true evil is always out there.

Slink is without a doubt one of the better independent films out there. It’s dark and violent, with a little bit of humor, but not too much to make it come off as silly. The music is very well done and pretty catchy. There are solo, creepy synths, dance-pop and almost orchestral music. However, as nice as these songs are all done, at times certain types of music don’t seem to fit. But, that’s a minor gripe and in no way will remove you from the movie.

If you are looking for a film with that 80’s sleazy video store rental vibe to it, then Slink is for you. Everything from the dialogue, drug use, bizarre characters, sexual overtones, T & A and even the premise is never too much or overbearing and distracting. You’ll feel reminiscent of smaller films like Unhinged or Deranged. Even with a few flaws, Slink is greatly entertaining for the 80 minute runtime. So, watch this throwback that I dare call a ‘modern day grindhouse.’

Be sure to check out director Jared Masters other work at the official Frolic Pictures website!

roadside attractions

  • Hammer time.
  • Bag Hag.
  • Comb-over Creep.
  • T & A Buffet!
  • Swinging Sounds of Survival.
  • Tanning Tape Sessions.
  • The Skinning Son.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Plenty of victims filleted.

9

blood

BREASTS

Plenty! Whether they are breathing or not is another story.

8

beast

BEASTS

It’s like a Bevery Hills version of The Manson Family.

7.7 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for Slink!

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Jun

Comments Off on Female Teacher Hunting

Often called “pink films” (another term for soft-core Japanese porn… think Cinemax after 12 a.m. in Asia), the Nikkatsu Roman Porno series put out over 700 titles between 1971 – 1988! Proof the porn industry was certainly booming! Although, calling these titles “porn” is like calling circus peanuts “candy”. These pinky films were called “thrillers” for a reason; often having a dark or twisted plot, while throwing in some sex and sleaze to keep them “pink”, while censoring the man’s junk. On a side note, I realize the subject of rape isn’t a joke and it’s very touchy and can be difficult to write about. So when you see I’m making a joke, please know that it’s about the characters or a reference, not on the actual subject itself.

Let’s take a look at Female Teacher Hunting. If I had heard the title, I would have figured this to be an 80’s Linnea Quigley flick about some backwoods, hairy guy hunting down a school teacher in the Deep South. However, the tale is a little more complex than that (but I did get the 80’s part right). Two high-schoolers, Midori and Daisuke, enjoy a little skinny dip in the school’s pool, but when Midori’s uniform is found in the pool the next day, Daisuke’s teacher Sakatani accuses him of rape. His defense is by telling her that rape isn’t as easy as she think… not the best defense, but he means someone would have heard her scream.

It instantly elevates to uncomfortable levels when Daisuke, ashamed, storms off to find Midori, and forces sex on her in the radio room with the microphone on for the whole school to hear (where’s the FCC when you actually need them?). He then drops out of school and that’s about as much school as you see. Sakatani spends some time on the coast having an affair with a married man, who happens to be writing a report about rape, taking a break from his wife and daughter. Ah, a vacation from all responsibilities.

blackbagWhile this is going on, Daisuke just so happens to be at the same coastal town, taking refuge with a bar owner after accidently spilling some drunkards bottle and getting pummeled. Not only does the bar owner take him in, he shares his girlfriend with him, in which the film shares with us the saddest threesome in history. Ladies, you know those stories you hear about a three-way being every man’s dream? Well, let this prove you wrong.

But this film isn’t necessarily supposed to be erotic. The three main characters come off as troubled convincingly, especially Daisuke. You feel sympathetic toward him during the film and then you feel disgusted toward him at the end. Sakatani seems to be the one you despise the most, accusing Daisuke of rape and having an affair with a married man. She comes off as the film’s villain, but she really isn’t all that bad. As I stated earlier, the sexual element of the movie is not necessarily for arousal, but to actually support the emotions of characters and move the plot along. You get a sense of wrongness while it’s going on and as the before mentioned three way, it’s supposed to come off as sad and pathetic. I guess that only leaves Midori as the film’s only innocent character that you feel terrible for, since she is mixed up with these other hooligans.

Female Teacher Hunting is a short ride, just a little over the one hour mark, but in that time it does get its story across and remain erotic. The DVD transfer from Impulse (the erotic driven division of the great Synapse Films) looks very good, given the films thirty year old age. Edges look smooth, colors look nice. Nothing looks washed out or soft, unless it was done intentionally. Although, the only audio option is 2.0 mono Japanese, English subtitles are provided with no distraction. However, if you are looking for extras, you’ll find this one is pretty bare, only including a theatrical trailer and some liner notes from Jasper Sharp.

As far as the “pink” movies go, you’ll find Female Teacher Hunting to be different that what’s expected of this genre of film. It’s more drama driven, using the sex scenes as a sad and depressing display of character development as they spiral down into their own self destruction. Fans of this genre looking for hot and steamy sex scenes may want to resort to going to the curtained rooms in your video stores, since you won’t find what you’re looking for here.

Check out other flicks in Impulse Pictures catalogue.

roadside attractions

  • -Sex Scene Shot Game!
  • -Also, take a shot every time you feel depressed for trying to get aroused.
  • -Think happy thoughts.
  • -Did this ruin the ‘sexy teacher’ fantasy for you?
totals

3

blood

BLOOD

Very little after some fighting, but this isn’t a gore flick.

9

blood

BREASTS

Lots, although most of the time not in the context you want.

6

beast

BEASTS

No monsters, but the characters themselves are somewhat monsterly.

6 OVERALL
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Check out the trailer for “Female Teacher Hunting”

trailers

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May

Comments Off on East Stackton

Welcome to the small town of East Stackton, a town loonier than the inhabitants of Summerisle. Of course that isn’t something that they openly promote. Sure they aren’t the friendliest folks to welcome city folk with open arms, but dammit, they know how to throw a surprise party, although you may not want to be the guest of honor…

And this is where our main man Carol comes in (hey, Carol can be a guy’s name too). You see, Carol is nosing around in these parts for his company, House and Home. They send him to all the locations to see if their stores are profitable. Not wanting to stick out like a sore thumb, Carol slaps on novelty state-shaped belt buckle and does his best to blend in. It’s that mentality that most city folk have; thinking that by slapping on a cowboy hat, people will believe you are actually from Texas. Inside the store, he meets with the manager Ned and all seems well. Carol steps outside to chain smoke and briefly eyes a pickup truck carrying a large ornament of some kind on the bed. He thinks nothing of it and continues to smoke his non-name brand cigarette, his favorite kind.

Bored of staying in his hotel room, Carol sets out to grab a beer with the good ol’ rednecks of… whatever state East Stackton is in. Everyone stares at him as he enters, no doubt blending in with that authentic belt buckle of his (man that keeps coming up. I wonder if it will play a part later?). He’s quick to make friends with the bartender, Kelly. She shares an awful lot of information with him about her dad’s hardwood store being run out of town and him dying. I’m sure this will in no way come back in the movie, so let’s move on. Carol is rushed out of the bar by the brute, chest thumping Cody and back to his hotel where he finds the bloody corpse of a possum nailed to the door, surely a welcoming basket from the community.

Well, the next morning isn’t any better for Carol. He finds that his car is missing and this is also what starts my favorite Carol characteristic in the movie: Cursing to himself under his breath. It seriously is funny every time he does this. Only thing he can do is call the Sheriff, who is on his way once he is done washing his squad car. You gotta have priorities. And as you can guess, the Sheriff and Carol don’t seem to agree with one another and we have ourselves a classic case of small town Sheriff vs. the city slicker. It’s an old fashioned duel, but always seems fresh when you see it.

On his second visit to the store, again stepping outside to chain smoke, Carol has a more eventful day. Following a trail of blood like a one man Scooby gang, he follows it to a dumpster to find the corpse of Cody with a hammer lodged in his forehead. I guess they won’t be able to make up over some drinks any time soon. He tells Sheriff Charlie all about it and in typical fashion, the Sheriff takes him downtown, leaving the clean up to Ned. Yep, Ned also happens to be a deputy. Hey, everyone is holding down at least two jobs now-a-days. Times are tough.

blackbagSheriff Charlie isn’t pulling the wool over Carol’s eyes, no sir. Carol is starting to seem suspicious of the town, as he spots the mean mugging mayor. This guy looks like he’s in a nasty mood and talks to the Sheriff about a ceremony that everyone is expecting Carol to be at. They tell him how excited they are to see him there later, which naturally, creeps Carol the hell out. Feeling like he’s losing his mind, Carol wanders out into traffic to almost get hit by a truck, but Kelly pulls him out of harm’s way. The two go back to her place for coffee and a chat about House and Home being the worst thing to happen to the town, but it’s cut short by the Sheriff taking Carol back down for more questioning… even though Sheriff Charlie never asked him any questions before (Carol does point this out).

This is where the film gets darker real quick. The Sheriff pushes him out of the squad car in front of all the town folk, where they welcome him and chloroform him. Jeez, they went from friendly to hostile in about a second flat. He wakes up to a stage, seeing two large wooden X’s (ah, so that’s what was on the truck) with a man hanging upside down on one. The mayor, dressed like Lord Sadler from Resident Evil 4, cuts the man’s throat during some chanting. His blood spills on the ground opening a gateway to Hell, and I kid you not, Satan appears! Yes, Satan makes an appearance in this film! Carol manages to cut himself free with his belt buckle (so I guess it did come in handy after all) and escapes to be rescued by Kelly. Turns out she was on to the town’s plan of raising the Devil, which I hope she would after living there for several years! Not like it’s a huge secret around there. The film doesn’t end there though. Kelly stops the truck and reveals her ulterior motive…

For running under thirty minutes, I had a good time watching East Stackton. For starters, it’s beautiful to look at. The cinematography is excellent, using good depth between the characters and the background, allowing them to stick out. Speaking of the characters, these actors are top notch. Short films usually make the mistake of either trying to cram too much character background in a short amount of time or not enough. Think of it like The Three Bears story. East Stackton is Baby Bear; it’s just right. Carol, of course, sticks out as the best since the camera is constantly on him. He’s written with humor, so instead of watching him mindlessly putter around, he makes snide comments or exclaims profanity. It’s hysterical. You feel bad for all these things that are happening to him, since he’s innocent, but he never comes off as pathetic. There is some gore, since I know you’ve been wondering, and it’s done very well. There isn’t a lot of it, but when there is, it’s pretty to look at. Speaking of pretty, the Satan effect is done well. I think it was a mix of puppet and CG, but it’s not on the screen for very long. And although this seems like a plot you’re familiar (Wickerman, anyone?), it’s one that is still enjoyable and even if you’ve seen this kind of film before, you want to see where they are going with it.

East Stackton is available for digital download at their website for only $5. It’s worth every penny. So, mosey on down to them parts and give it a watch, ya hear?

roadside attractions

  • -Playing possum.
  • -Belt Buckle Bonanza.
  • -Slippery Sheriff!
  • -Mayor Mayhem!
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Splatters, a throat cut and a ‘hammered’ body.

5

blood

BREASTS

You get come nice cleavage, plus Carol has his shirt buttoned down just enough, ladies.

9

beast

BEASTS

East Stackton itself is a beast, plus they raise the Devil.

7 OVERALL
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Check out the trailer for “East Stackton”

trailers

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May

Comments Off on Sins of the Dragon

Usually I get swamped with short horror films, gore-fests and Troma wannabe’s and most recently, Asian erotic thrillers (don’t get me wrong, these are good things and I love stuff like that). Then out of nowhere, I received something a little different: A martial arts film that wasn’t a Godfrey Ho cut and paste movie or a Bruce-sploitation flick. So I got curious and checked out the trailer for a little short indy flick called Sins of the Dragon and let me tell you something… I was not expecting to see the awesomeness that I saw. (Editor’s note: I’m totally surprised to see that awesomeness is a word. That squiggly red line didn’t appear under it when I typed it)

Sins of the Dragon isn’t your straight forward martial arts flick. It’s also a fantasy film, so it doesn’t take place at any specific time in history or in the future. Hell, maybe not even this world. But where and when never come into question. Right from the get-go, they explain what you need to know: There are four separate territories and each is ruled by a dragon. Well, the dragon is actually a martial arts master that possesses superhuman abilities. So what do you think if, for example, someone decides they are going to kill the other dragons and gain their powers? They would rule the world, duh!

And it just so happens that someone is doing exactly that. He goes by the name Caligo and wears like this half Jason mask on the bottom half of his face. This is where the movie opens up at actually. We see Caligo fighting Master Sozen, who looks kinda like Raiden from Mortal Kombat (well, actually he is wearing the same hat, but to be honest, I forgot what those were called, so I knew you would be able to follow along if I made that reference). Caligo informs the Master Sozen, and the audience, that he has already killed two of the dragons and is about to make it three.

sotdSins of the Dragon does actually build up their characters and makes sympathetic. Cunri lives with an almost uncontrollable rage, due to his village being slaughtered by Caligo during his quest to kill the other dragons. Thus, it orphaned Cunri, but as fate would have it, he is trained by Master Shaw and met Kaia. See, not all bad, right? Lose your family, gain awesome martial arts skills. Even Steven?

All of this boils down to the final showdown between Cunri and Caligo, after he and Kaia are attacked and exhausted by a group of ninjas. Cunri must use all of his skill to defeat the now almost invincible Caligo. But what of Kaia? What about her fate? Everything rests on this battle!

You’ve probably been seeing the phrase ‘martial arts’ a bit in this review and you must be wondering, “Is there actually any martial arts and is it any good?” To answer it simply: Yes. Oh lord, yes. Sins of the Dragon has more impressive fight choreography than any other big budget movie in the past few years. It’s actually very impressive.

The plot itself is also quite impressive. The characters have an anime vibe to them; Cunri being the brooding protagonist with his smart-arse she-sidekick as they encounter a group of buffoonish thieves; one who is the ‘brain’, one who gets lost in his own metaphors and the third is the silent type all on a quest to stop an evil villain. Sins of the Dragon definitely sets up a fantasy world and invites you in without overwhelming you with complicated mythos or an overabundance of unnecessary back story. It also has its share of special effects that are pretty decent considering the budget and type of film it is, but it’s not what it’s about and you won’t be paying any attention to it once they start roundhouse kicking everyone. It’s an easy film to sit down, watch and enjoy some major butt kicking!

Running in at just under half an hour, everything is well developed and fleshed out, you’ll feel like you watched an episode of some new anime and you want to see what happens next to these characters and you want to see where they go. In a short amount of time, you do feel attached to these characters and at times, you’ll wish there was a more fortunate path for them.

Sins of the Dragon shouldn’t be missed, whether you are looking for a martial arts film or something with some fantasy, it shows how far you can go with a little imagination. Now, run away to Platypus Underground’s website to watch it (there is also an extended cut available)… before Caligo destroys you!

roadside attractions

  • -Ninja Overload!
  • -Ken Masters Stunt Double.
  • -Everyone really does want Kung-fu fighting.
  • -Half Jason/Half Vader
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Sprays, splatters and even a decapitation!.

5

blood

BREASTS

In its place, I offer you ninjas.

9

beast

BEASTS

Did I mention ninjas? Oh and an evil ninja?

7 OVERALL
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Check out the trailer for “Sins of the Dragon”

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May

posted by admin | May 15, 2013 | modern horror, Reviews by the Goon, screeners

Comments Off on Blackbags

When I decided I would take over full responsibilities for reviewing screeners, apparently I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. I thought I could sit here comfortably as the movies either came to mailbox or my links would be sent to my email and I would watch whatever creation young filmmakers were trying to bring to life.

This is where Blackbags comes in. I hadn’t heard about it before, which is fine. A lot of good stuff is usually below our radars. But this… this is something else altogether. It’s a short film, running just under the twenty minute mark and that’s where my first personal issue with the film is: I’m not sure if I would call it a film, really. Blackbags gives you that impression you’re watching something your friends shot and cut together in one night while they were drunk and they thought it would be funny.

Before we go any further into detail, does Blackbags have any substance? Well, kinda. It does have a plot. The story centers on the cleverly named Ski Mask Guy, who literally grunts every word of dialogue while gritting his teeth (I have to admit, this is pretty hilarious). This is about how high the comedy gets. Speaking of getting high, his chronic smoking chronie, Meathead, who speaks like he has a distortion box over his voice, is bringing down all kinds of heat on them. You see, he can’t control himself, whether it’s drug abuse or killing hookers. And the hookers in this movie (there are only two, so don’t worry about losing track) are played by the same actress. So maybe it’s the hooker’s twin? Couldn’t they have at least changed her hair style? I don’t know and consistency doesn’t really matter here.

But that’s not all. The cops in this town, or at least just one who is dressed like a kid who is dressing up in his dad’s suit and fedora playing detective, are breathing down Ski Mask Guy’s neck to get a fix and if he don’t he gonna end up in the clink, see? Is that how the kid’s say it? Anyway, this is all getting out of hand apparently, so Ski Mask Guy thinks of a plan to fix it all that is so crazy that it just might work…

blackbagI could go ahead and spoil it for you, but I won’t. I’m trying to be a better person and not do that. Now is it the most original and thought out plan? No. Does it work? Yes, actually it does. For this run time, the film tells a story and wraps it up. But by now, I know what’s on your mind: There must be more to it than that in twenty minutes. Nope. At least not from a story telling point of view and I know this is where you might be thinking I’m being over critical and you would be right. It’s just an independent short film with little to no budget. Alright then, let’s talk about the technical aspects. Right from the start, you’ll notice something very distracting and ugly about Blackbags. A grainy, pixilated filter runs over the entire course of the film. That’s right, it looks like you’re watching early 90’s security footage or playing a Sega CD game on a small black and white TV. It can be distracting and turn you off from the movie. But this isn’t the only visual distraction. During the film’s more intense moments, it begins to do this throbbing effect, similar to a heartbeat and quickly zooming in and out of the scene, only it’s done digitally and not optically, so it can become a bit distracting. Although, this technique happens during heightened or stressful situations, so it does add to the effect.

But maybe that’s where the charm is in this film. I know it sounded like I was beating this film down and I was being harsh, but it’s a different kind of breed then what we’ve been conditioned to view as to what is a ‘film’. Sure, this wasn’t in 1080p, wasn’t running 24fps and more than likely wasn’t shot on a DSLR or an entry level professional camcorder. But this is the sort of film where you can recognize the heart behind it. It’s a group of friends with a desire to make something with a basic idea, regardless of technical limitations and sometimes that’s all it takes. Now Blackbags isn’t for everyone and some may find the video and audio off-putting, but behind it is actually a hilarious get-together of friends.

roadside attractions

  • -Grit yo’ teeth!
  • -Dress up Detective
  • -Sega CD Security
  • -Heartbeat nausea
totals

2

blood

BLOOD

None! Can you believe it? Other violence happens though.

0

blood

BREASTS

Again, none! Unless you count that cop.

5

beast

BEASTS

Ski Mask Guy and Meathead are beastly!

3.7 OVERALL
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Check out the trailer for “Blackbags”

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About the Highway

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