Archive for the 'Walk Thru' Category

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

Comments Off on A Walk Thru The Humanoid (1979)

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

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

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

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

Open: Space

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

The crawl disappears and… wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

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

Push into: Sun Destroyer

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

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

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

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

Cut to: Barbara at Work

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

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

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

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

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

Moving hastily on…

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

Cut to: Sun Destroyer

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

Cut to: Earthopolis

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

Cut to: Barbara’s House

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

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

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

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

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

Cut to: The Planetarium

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

Away, Princely Hero Nick! Save the damsel.

Cut to: Montage of Planetarium Show Slides

… with more Orbital-esque electronica.

(Uhm. Okay…)

Fade to: Space

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

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

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

Cut to: Barbara’s House

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

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

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

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

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

Cut to: Space, Sun Destroyer

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

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

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

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

(Minions. Sigh.)

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

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

Excellent.

Cut to: Space, Sesquicentennial Pelican

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

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

Cut to: Professor Crapspin’s Lab

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

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

Cut to: The Crash Site

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cut to: Sun Destoryer

One week later the main Crapatron warhead is ready.

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

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

Cut to: Outskirts of The City

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

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

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

Cut to: Earthopolis Central

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cut to: Sun Destroyer

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

(Thanks, movie.

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

Cut to: Barbara’s House

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

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

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

Cut to: Desert

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

Cut to: Barbara’s House

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cut to: Sun Destroyer

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

Cut to: The City

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

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

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

Cut to: Planet Knockoff

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

Cut to: Sesquicentennial Pelican Mark 2

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

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

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

Cut to: Desert, Planet Knockoff

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

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

Cut to: Lord Growl’s Base

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Guess what happens? )

Cut to: Hanger

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

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

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

Cut to: Pew Pew Pew

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

(Man, Squalltroops are really fragile.)

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

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

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

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

Cut to: Final Boss Battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cut to: Desert Outside Lord Growl’s Base

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

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

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

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

Aw! Happy ending.

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

The End

roadside attractions

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

5 blood  

BLOOD

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

2 blood  

BREASTS

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

 

10 beast  

BEASTS

Richard Kiel. No special defect make-up necessary.

 

OVERALL 5.666
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Watch the trailer for “The Humanoid”

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Dec

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

Comments Off on A Walk Thru Santa Claus (1959)

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

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

Open: Crystal & Gold Space Palace

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

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

Hey, isn’t Mexico part of Central America?

SHUT UP!

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

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

Cut to: Hell

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

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

Ah, GAWD! The devil truly is vile.

Cut to: Earth, Mexico City

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

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

Cut to: Magic Observatory

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

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

Ah, there’s the sugar-sweet reality!

Cut to: Good Little Rich Boy’s House

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

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

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

Cut to: Lupita’s One Room Shack

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

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

Cut to: Under a Bed

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

Cut to: Montage of Children Writing Letters

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

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

Paris?

Cut to: Merlin’s Workshop

Santa drops in on Merlin.

Wait. Merlin?

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

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

Cut to: Blacksmith’s Workshop

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

Cut to: Santa’s Gym

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

Take that, Science, what do you know!

Cut to: The Sleigh

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

SHUT UP!

Cut to: Space

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

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

SHUT UP!

Cut to: Earth

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

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

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

SHUT UP!

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

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

Cut to: Good Little Rich Boy’s House

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

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

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

Cut to: Neglectful Rich Parents at The Club

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

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

Ho, ho, ho! Yes. You are.

Cut to the Bad Brothers’ Rooftop

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

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

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

SHUT UP!

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

Cut to: Another Stop

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

Cut to: The Final Boss Stop

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

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

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

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

Oh no!

Cut to: Lupita’s One Room Shack

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

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

SHUT UP!

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

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

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

Cut to: Space

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

The End

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

roadside attractions

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

2 blood  

BLOOD

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

0 blood  

BREASTS

Come on! This is a film for the childrens!

 

10 beast  

BEASTS

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

 

OVERALL 4
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Watch the trailer for “Santa Claus”

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