Oct

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

House of Wax
1953 – Not Rated – Warner Bros.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

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

5

blood

BLOOD

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

2

blood

BREASTS

This was made before boobs were invented.

9

beast

BEASTS

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

5.3 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer!”

trailers

dripper
Oct

posted by Barry Goodall | October 15, 2013 | B-movies, Guest Review, New Releases

GhostShark

Shark movies are a dime a dozen. Even more common than shark movies are bad shark movies, lke this little SyFy-produced gem aptly named Ghost Shark. Boy, are we in for a whopper: a fisherman’s tale so hard to believe Bruce from Jaws is rolling in his grave. We start the movie with three extras turned plot devices and all the cursing a major network can allow. It sounds more like the would-be conversation of a couple of tweens who just learned their first swear words. And these three salty folks are on a chartered ship trying to catch a fish to win a contest that has not been mentioned, or ever gets mentioned, in the entire movie. Plot device,ho! The female aboard the ship has a tiny handy-cam which she’s filming the entire venture with, giving us our first “That’s gonna come back later” moment. Upon hooking what we’re lead to believe is an award-winning fish, for the contest that is never again brought up, we have apparently a great white shark that comes and not only eats the fish on the line but spits the stripped carcass back onto the chartered boat. Take a minute to let that ‘Tom & Jerry’ moment sink in. Got it? Okay. Let’s continue.

In a “murderous rage,” and I use quotation marks because the actor has the emotional range of a highway billboard sign, Redneck Fisherman #1 starts to shoot at the shark. It gets better. After shooting the shark with a .357 revolver, he gets all Daryl Dixon and uses a crossbow. Don’t finish that sigh, yet. Following the eight bullets fired from the six shooter, and the crossbow bolt to the face, the guy adds insult to injury by pouring hot sauce on the shark. Now you can imagine that all this was some grand chase or some kind of pursuit or multiple sessions of the shark surfacing, but this all happens at the back of the boat and the shark stays to take it all. The final straw to this attack is when the couple on the back of the boat throw a stick ofdynamite into the shark’s open mouth, which proceeds to explode, but doesn’t kill the shark. That’s right, a stick of dynamite, in the mouth of the shark, and that DOES NOT kill it. Whilst the drunken fishermen celebrate their victory over the hungry predator, the shark that we now know is destined to be the title character, swims to a cave to die when the walls glow with symbols that were probably drawn by the producer’s infant son. A bad CGI shark dies and floats to the depths of the ocean.

Already tough to swallow? We’ve only gotten past the first scene, folks. The shark that went to die in the glowing cave, by the way, that never gets explained, comes back as a see-throughblue predator of the deep that can now leap over tall boats with a single splash, bite peoplein half like they’re made of Wonderbread, and the ability to….Oops. Spoilers. Remember that previously mentioned handy-cam? Yeah. We get the set-up for the first half of the movie from the supposed footage from that thing. Enter the rest of the cast! Teenagers galore and bikinis (although very old styled) abound and not a single person outside of the main characters are on the beach! No, really, stock footage is used to establish a busy beach and then real footage takes over and it seems these kids are the only occupants. Now begins all the worst shark attacks that man can muster and paste to film. First shark attack is a teenage girl, bitten in half, off the top of a Jet Ski. Ghost sharks can leap. The chartered boat shows up with “blood all over the deck” (in reality it’s just a bloody hat) at the same time, thus leading the Scooby Doo gang to put together the shark-killed folks. Yeah, I know. But at some points it really does play out like a cartoon.

Begin the great investigation! And I meant the Scooby Doo reference. Almost every adult in this movie is simply unwilling to budge on any point made, even when they witness the shark comeout of a man’s body, splitting him in twain, just a few feet away from them. Yes, folks, that’s the Ghost Shark’s super power! The edge that makes it the most dangerous CG critter this side of Starship Troopers is that it can “haunt” any standing or running water around the town! Kids are devoured going down a slip and slide, modeled like a shark, of course, cheerleaders are chomped on during a summer car wash, and the aforementioned man split in two met his fate at the hands of the office water cooler. Oh, the humanity! Oh, the horror! Oh, my glob! It doesn’t make this movie ANY BETTER! Almost everyone that meets up with the apparition is guaranteed certain death, except the main characters, of course. The sister of the main female protagonist gets mauled in her bathtub, only resulting in a badly applied make-up effect of a bad cut. So I’ve gone through some of the attacks, leaving out the pool party attack where a severed head ends up impaled on a champagne bottle, but there is one thing we haven’t covered: actors. All these players are no-name actors except for Richard Moll. That’s right, Bull fromNight Court ended up on a SyFy shark movie.

So now that we’ve gotten the meat of the movie out of the way, let’s discuss how they “kill”the Ghost Shark. Call the Ghostbusters? No. Perform some voodoo ritual? No. Sing a song and show it that only true love can prosper? No. After a false ending of stabbing the shark with the bolt from the crossbow above and it exploding like an incorporeal pinata, the only way to kill the shark is the way they’d been discussing for the last 20 minutes in the movie: blow up that glowing cave! (Fake CGI shark cadaver included). But what’s this? Lo, those who could only see THIS plot twist coming, will have called it and knew its arrival. It starts raining! More specifically, IT STARTS RAINING GHOST SHARKS! Goodbye, Richard Moll, you will not be missed. But this is a SyFy movie. They blow up the cave and the whole town is saved. For the credits, the last survivors go for a swim in the now safe ocean, somehow forgetting their father, friends, lovers, county officials, and someone’s dog, are all dead. You can breathe now, folks. It’s over. If you think reading it was hard, try watching it!

Blood: 7 – less than a hanful of good gore spouts.
Breasts: 5 – It’s a SyFy feature
Beasts: 3 = less than convincing and sadly…Sad

Deadman is a published writer, YouTube reviewer of video games, movies and the like. Also a zombie survivalist who has a series to help those get through Z-Day. A lover of all things horror and B-Flick. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas. An artist, gamer, and father. He games as often as possible and when he’s not gaming he’s creating some literary work. Weird sense of humor, but always willing to make fun of himself, too. Another interesting note is that he is blamed by friends and family to be responsible for the zombie apocalypse; being evil isn’t easy these days.

Deadman is his second name, the first one has been stricken from history. Ask him anything
and he’ll probably have an answer.

Deadman0204.blogspot.com
Youtube.com/deadman0204

Oct

posted by Doktor | October 11, 2013 | 60's b-movies, 60's movies, B-movie Reviews, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Tagline: You’re in Space beyond Space.

Year: 1962 Runtime: 77 min

Director: Sidney W. Pink

Writer: Sidney W. Pink (story), Ib Melchior (script)

Starring: John Agar, Greta Thyssen, Carl Ottosen

Journey to the Seventh Planet starts with a voiceover: “There are no limits to imagination.” That may be true, but there are limits on talent. Journey to the Seventh Planet is less a movie and more one giant plot hole.

Year is 2001. The U.N. is the sole government of the world. Humanity has advanced to a point where “man has learned to live with himself.” Unfortunately this means mingling with the Irish. Without war or famine or anyone of color (smooth move there, Adolf!), man’s only concern is space travel. Specifically making a trip to Uranus.

Note: Uranus is pronounced your-AHN-us. No poo-poo jokes here, kids. This is serious business.

Just as it is in the real world, scientists are the übermensch of this brave new world, none more than the astronaut, or Spacetronaut in the parlance of the kool kids. Five of the top Spacetronauts are sent on this mission: Commander Eric, Captain Don Graham, Karl, Svend and Barry O’Sullivan (ugh!). Science is especially strong in these men. Where a normal person would be nonplussed by the bizarre things they are exposed to, these guys are barely apathetic. That is, until it comes to women. Basically this is a bunch of drunk frat boys on Saturday night.

Of the five, Captain Don, or Happy Harry Hard-on, is the biggest pervert. Not five minutes into the trip he’s spouting, “Boy was she biological. I wish I could have taught her my kind of biology.”  In fact, when they finally make it to Uranus and they find women (FROM EARTH) who couldn’t possibly be there—Space Hallucinations™—, his first thought is to hit on them. In Happy Harry’s defense, when he meets a girl he’s being trying to date (ON EARTH) he asks if she’s real. I mean, Space Hallucinations™ wouldn’t lie about that kind of stuff, would they?

Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, much like the movie.

Here’s the thing, Uranus is inhabited by a Space & Time Brain Creature™. I understand what a Space Brain Creature is, but this one is also described as being from Time. That is… I have no explanation, nor does the movie. So, suffice it to say it’s a Space & Time Brain Creature™ and leave it at that.

A similarly inexplicable plot point is the weightlessness the Spacetronauts experience—ONLY—when they establish orbit around Uranus.  While weightless they are more susceptible to the Space & Time Brain Creature’s™ mental powers. Not that it matters, all it does is hypnotize the Spacetronauts for a couple minutes. During this timeout it admonishes them for their folly and lays out his evil plans to destroy them. Or not.

Thing is, the Space & Time Brain Creature™ can’t make up it’s mind about the humans. One minute it’s going to destroy them, the next minute it needs them. What could it possibly need the humans for? To escape Uranus. Why? It needs to take over one of their bodies. At which point it can escape in their ship.

Something else I failed to mention in my haste, it can create matter. Anything. Case in point, when the ship lands, the Spacetronauts see a lush, verdant forest outside their ship. When they investigate, they find that there is a breathable atmosphere. As Commander Eric reminisces about home, the village he grew up in magically appears in the distance. There they find the first of the Space Hallucinations™ that gets Capt. Happy Harry all tumescent.

Assuming you’re not a wet rutabaga, you’re probably asking yourself, “Uhm, why does the Space & Time Brain Creature™ need the humans again? Can’t he just make a spaceship? And a body to possess?” To which I would answer, I dunno.

Putting that aside, as the Spacetronauts are exploring they find the edge of the force-field bubble the Space and Time Brain Creature™ has made for them. Commander Eric knows that the answers lie on the other side, so high-ho it’s off they go. The Space & Time Brain Creature™ starts blubbering on about how it knows the humans are coming through to kill it. It loves it some exposition.

“But wait,” you might be thinking, “aren’t they just going through to get some answers? Isn’t it their mission to explore Uranus?” And you’d be right in wondering about that. I would even go further to remind that the Space & Time Brain Creature™ telepathy. Moreover, it’s been using it’s telepathy to search the Spacetronauts minds. That is how it’s been creating the forest, the village, and the people. Sufficiently confused?

I can only raise my shoulders, dumbfounded, and smile in answer.

Let’s move past that bit. Get to the good stuff. When the Spacetronauts finally see the Space & Time Brain Creature™, and it’s wavy-blue mental-radiation-hypnosis-thing, Commander Eric, the heretofore level-headed leader, decides they have to kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™. If they don’t they won’t be able take off.

Sigh…

I know. I said move on to the good stuff and all I’ve done is present more greasy whale vomit. This time you’re asking yourself, what the hell does a wavy-blue mental-radiation-hypnosis-thing have to do with taking off? Also, is another of the Space & Time Brain Creature’s™ powers clairvoyancy?  I throw up my hands in frustration and answer, “Everything?” and “Yes?”

Like I wrote earlier, this isn’t a movie, it’s a plot hole.

Now that the Space & Time Brain Creature™  knows they Spacetronauts are out to kill it, it has to protect itself. Given all it’s powers why is it a problem to destroy the humans? It can make monsters, women, a town, forests, whatever. It doesn’t even have to do that. It could simply wait until the Spacetronauts are walking around in the forest or town, which they do without space suits, and make the atmosphere disappear. Problem solved. But it doesn’t. I can only assume the filmmakers were under the impression that by this point in the film you would either be knuckle deep into seventh base or passed out in a puddle of your own brain sauce. Either way you wouldn’t be paying attention to what’s going on.

I guess I’ll just power on blindly, too.

Laser burlets won’t kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™. I don’t know how they know this, they never really tried, but moving hastily along— The only way to destroy Space & Time Brain Creature™ is with a special acetylene torch gun. That they have to make. From scratch. Luckily there’s a blacksmith’s shop in town with all the necessary tools and materials. Zip, boom, bah, they build it. Tuckered from all the work, they decide to call it a night and leave the ONLY MEANS TO KILL the Space & Time Brain Creature™ in the blacksmith’s shop. Of course, the Space & Time Brain Creature™ uses the Space Hallucinations™ to sucker young Karl in order to steal the gun and replace it with a fake. This further begs logic in that, why does the Space & Time Brain Creature™ need to steal the gun? Because the fake won’t work? Because the Space & Time Brain Creature™ can make the gun disappear? Come on, Pink and Melchior. You’re killing me here. Did you sneeze out mouthfuls of Alpha-Bits on a page and call the mess a script?

Before I stroke out let me finish this. Despite stealing their special gun, the Spacetronauts manage to kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™. They freeze it with liquid oxygen. Frozen, their laser burlets work. Phew. Done. Thank Christ!

Or am I?

Sadly, I’m not. Nor were Pink and Melchior. Once the Spacetronauts finally kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™ the world around them starts falling apart, cracking and erupting like an uranusquake-volcano. At the ship they come across Gretta, Commander Eric’s girl—whom he’s been eschewing the whole film. Suddenly Commander Eric changes his mind, decides she’s real, and brings her with them. WHAT? Seriously? Before they break out of the atmosphere, she disappears.

I can’t take it anymore. I give up.

roadside attractions

  • Marvel at the life-like matte paintings and 1/10 scale rocket ship!
  • Feel the deep camaraderie bordering on bromance between the five courageous Spacetronauts!
  • Learn what it means to serve, to love, and what chronometer means through dialogue and context!
  • Fight to maintain your sanity while being hypnotized by the telepathic Space & Time Brain Creature™!
  • Listen as the Space & Time Brain Creature™ pontificates like a proper arse!
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

There’s not much, but when Giant Space Spider gets squished, it’s like the condiments at a NYC hotdog cart are all squeezed out simultaneously.

3

blood

BREASTS

There were some scantily clad Space Hallucinations, which is as close as you get in 1962.

9

beast

BEASTS

Cyclopean Rat Monster, Giant Space Spider, and Space & Time Brain Creature™.

5.666 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer for “Journey to the Seventh Planet”

trailers

dripper
Oct

posted by The Goon | October 9, 2013 | 60's b-movies, 60's movies, Drama, Reviews by the Goon, Suspense, screeners

Night Tide
1961 – PG – Kino Lorber

Tales about mermaids are often thought to be full of wonder and whimsy and giving credit to the music that plays during the intro to Night Tide, it’s understandable why you would think that. But don’t let the score fool you. This is a ghostly tale, about secrets, lies and murder. It will lure you in with a false sense of safety and will play on your innocence. Before you know it, you’re neck deep in panic, wondering if something foul is waiting for you. It’s a smooth, unemphatic transition, like night and day. You don’t notice until it’s too late.

A pre-cocaine fueled Dennis Hopper stars in a tale about mermaids and murder. Murmaider, if you will. Hopper plays Johnny, a sailor on shore leave. This brings him to a small Californian coastal town, where he walks a pier and finds himself inside a cool jazz bar. The local patrons in this scene are actually quite believable as what you would think of as “regulars.” Each person is distinctive, emoting a different mood. Like they are all actually there for different reasons and could tell you their story and you’d believe it. However, they all are moving their head in the same pattern to the music that it’ll make your neck hurt. That is until Johnny notices a striking young woman. He finally gathers the courage to go talk to her, but before he can make casual chit chat, the young woman is scared off by a slightly older looking woman, garbed in black, speaking in a foreign tongue. Like the drunk frat dude when the bar’s closing, Johnny dashes off to hound her. Just cause it’s time to quit it, doesn’t mean you can’t hit it, bro.

It’s interesting to look at a scenario like that in pretext. Although they exchanged about three lines of dialogue, this was considered charming or romantic, especially in the silver age of cinema. A young man would approach you at the bar, ask you your name, tell you that you are beautiful, buy you a drink and give you a kiss, sealing the deal. You were a couple after that. People saw this as romantic and I can see why. A man, tingling head to toe in fear with rejection, shakes his feathers and approaches that stunning girl and asks her name. Nobody does that now, unless it’s through social media. Otherwise it’s considered “creepy.”

night_tide_2Well, we got off track! Johnny walks her home, above the carousel, learning her name is Mora. The next day over breakfast, they seem to be fond of one another and to be honest, the chemistry here is really believable. Telling him she works at the carnival’s sideshow attraction, she invites him to a show where we are introduced to Sam Murdock, an old British Navy Captain. Johnny thinks something may be strange about him, so Mora tells him that she was rescued by him at a young age and adopted. This was back in the day when you could just pick up a random child and claim them as yours willy-nilly. Later that evening while Mora is dancing (either that or the worst wave impression ever), she spots that woman in black and faints. Things sure are getting weird.

Speaking of weird, Johnny learns from local girl Ellen that Mora’s ex-boyfriends have all died mysteriously. Even more mysterious, he spots the woman in black and follows her all the way to Captain Murdock’s place, who seems to be trying to replace his blood with booze. Before passing out drunk and snoring like Tom Arnold inhaling a bowl of hospital Jell-O, he warns Johnny that he is in grave danger as long as he is with Mora. Upon confronting Mora, she tells him that she is of Siren descent and will kill when the moon is full. Women, huh? Always trying to kill you during the cycle of the moon… I’m just gonna stop there. Johnny ignores this hogwash, but soon has a nightmare that she turns into an octopus and tries strangling him.

I bet you never thought you would see Dennis Hopper wrestle a Muppet octopus.

He awakes from this nightmare to find her standing under the pier, calling his name, standing in the way of the crashing waves as if she is trying to drown herself. She’s not tied to the pier, mind you, because most sane people get out of the way of that sort of thing simply by moving their legs and removing them from that particular danger.

night_tide_3The next morning, having slept on Mora’s floor to ensure her safety, Johnny goes to get those kinks in his back worked out by a masseuse. Things get “steamy” while Johnny’s butch, hairy masseuse, Bruno, works on his shoulders. There is nothing wrong with a man giving another man a massage, but it’s the exchange of dialogue once Captain Murdock pops his head in to say, “Hi” that makes this scene a bit awkward. The masseuse asks the Captain if he wants him to, “pound him later,” to which the Captain replies, “Now why would I forgo a pleasure like that?” The movie immediately brushes this dialogue off its’ shoulders and the Captain further feeds Johnny’s fear about Mora. Now, I have no problems with sexual orientation, but it seems out of context in this scene… even for the Sixties. Once again, I feel like I derailed this review. Let’s get it back on track, shall we?

It’s finally the full moon and Mora invites Johnny along for some scuba diving, which he doesn’t think is a good idea, but she manages to coax him into it. It almost proves to be fatal, as Mora removes his breathing gear and swims off. He makes it back onto the boat, but doesn’t see Mora come back up for air. Devastated as the days go by, believing that maybe she really is a mermaid, Johnny finally revisits the carnival when reading her name in the newspaper. Everything draws to a close when he visits Mora’s attraction, but not without a few ghastly twists and turns that, to be honest, you will not see coming.

Night Tide is a suspenseful voyage of perplexity, thick with atmosphere and dread. Dread that builds up like a violin string being pulled tensely, but will not break. I have to admit, it is strange at first to see Dennis Hopper not playing such an oddball character, but he does take this role seriously (but there is still that goofiness we love him for) and his attraction to Mora seems genuine. The two play off of each other so well, you could actually believe they are a new couple, still learning about each other, but in love. Not only that, but it’s a refined film to look at, with almost a perfect gray scale in every scene and objects pop out at you with such depth. Kino Lorber restored this from the original 35mm print and boy, does it show.

Night Tide
Go on leave from your job, rent a seedy hotel room, shack up with a mermaid on a full moon and grab your copy of Night Tide from Kino. Well you don’t have to do any of that, besides watch the movie, but if you’re gonna do it, you may as well go all out.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Non-hopped up Hopper.
  • MURMAIDER!
  • It’s Jazz, baby.
  • Mouth watering Mora.
  • Captain Cryptic.
  • Woman in black.
  • Nautical nightmares.
  • Masseuse innuendo.
  • Scuba sabotage.
  • Scooby Doo ending.
totals

2

blood

BLOOD

Octopus wrestling and gun play, but no ooze.

4

blood

BREASTS

Nothing bare, but you can oogle at Mora’s cleavage.

8

beast

BEASTS

Mermaids, a Muppet and a murderer!

4.6 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie!”

trailers

dripper
Oct

Pieces
1983 – Unrated – Grindhouse Releasing

Grindhouse Releasing is responsible for distributing the most sadistic, trashiest, violent and perverted films known to man and that’s why we love them. There’s something about films filled with unnecessary gore and nudity that really captivate you. It’s like it fills an arcane void, satisfying your darkest needs so you won’t lash out at the public. Take the film Pieces, for example. It’s permeate with buckets of gore, murder, nudity and hokiness any everyday Samaritan who is about to detonate with rage could need.

It’s 1942 in Boston and although the Patriots pennant on the wall won’t exist until the 60’s, a young lad sits deliberating, solving where the next piece to his nudie puzzle should go. His mother enters and instantly starts slapping him like she’s Chris Brown and grabs a garbage bag (from the future apparently, since those weren’t invented until the 50’s) and tosses the puzzle in there. Like any rational young boy, he axes her to death, out of nowhere, severs the body with a saw, grinning away the whole time. This is just in time for the cleaning lady and the police to show up and find him, and his mother’s head, and call his aunt with a push button phone from the 70’s. Wow, you could call this a period piece… Period Pieces… ahem.

pieces_2Forty years later, a pair of black rubber gloved hands, presumably the young boy all grown up, starts to piece the puzzle back together. After a moment of that, the movie decides to show you a college girl on a skateboard crash into a giant mirror being carried across the sidewalk by two movers, which I thought they only did in cartoons. This scene is irrelevant to the movie, but it’s warming you up for what’s in store. Next, we see another young college girl studying on the grass, played by the same actress oddly enough (and no, I don’t know if it’s supposed to be the same girl) as someone covered head to toe in a long coat, scarf and fedora is doing some light gardening with a chainsaw. What other attire would be proper to garden in? Rather than cut down some branches, he decapitates her, spewing gallons of blood! Hope you aren’t squeamish, because it only gets better from here.

Have no fear, Lt. Bracken (played by the favorable Christopher George) is on the case, usually chewing on what looks like a Slim Jim. On campus, he meets with the dean, played by Edmund Perdom, who seems to be overly pointing the finger at the groundskeeper, Willard, a large oafish man, reminding you of Bluto from Popeye. He seems innocent enough, even if he is chuckling to himself while passionately cleaning a chainsaw. Overcompensating for something, Willard?

pieces_3This is when we are introduced to campus stud (the movie’s words, not mine), Kendall. He’s like if you crossed Steve Guttenberg with Richie Cunningham. The babes are on him so thick, he has to peel them off like wet bologna stuck to aluminum siding on a hot summer day. He’s about to secure himself a dip in the pool with some hot bitty, but someone dressed like The Shadow hacks her up. But as fate would have it, Kendall’s paths cross with Lt. Bracken, who recruits Kendall to be his “inside guy,” because it’s not like he has a whole station of cops who are paid to investigate and track down the murder suspect. Endangering the welfare of a college student for free is a better suited idea.

After much Slim Jim chewing, Lt. Bracken decides maybe he does actually need some type of law enforcement personal working undercover. He pairs Kendall up with Mary Riggs, played by his real life wife (say that five times fast), Lynda Day. Her resume boasts, Pro Tennis star/Cop, which I’m sure are two skills that are often used simultaneously.

On a side note, that would make an awesome show, Pro Tennis star turned Detective. It could be called Justice Served!

Anyway, it feels like several minutes since a woman has been brutally butchered, so while doing some solo aerobics one evening, random girl #3 gets the feeling she is being watched and dashes for the elevator. She hops on, along with a man shrouded completely in black clothes and hat, thinking nothing about that could be suspicious, until her arm is lopped off by his chainsaw. First a head, then a torso and now arms… what could the killer possibly be doing with body parts in a movie called Pieces?

The next night, or that same night, or it really doesn’t matter, Kendall, just having finished bumping uglies with some random skank, hangs one out for the ladies and spots Mary walking in the dark from his window. Mary can’t help but hear someone is creeping up on her. Just then, the assailant jumps out of the bushes and does Karate kicks at her! Terrified, she slowly backs up, just as the intruder doubles over with indigestion. This is when Kendall rolls up on his hog (wimpy dirt bike) and introduces Mary to his “Kung-Fu Professor.” He apologizes for his random lashing out of sporadic martial arts, blames it on some bad chop suey and goes about his night. Kendall gives Mary a ride home, hoping to get lucky. Nobody speaks of this scene again.

pieces_4By now, you may have caught yourself asking, “What the hell does that scene have to do with anything?” The answer is nothing. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but that’s a part of Pieces‘ charm. This scene was thrown in because apparently producer Dick Randall was working on a martial arts film with Bruce Lee imitator, Bruce Le and added that scene because… he couldn’t wait to show you his movie? There are a few other scenes that feel out of place, like the girl crashing through the mirror, but you already know you’re in for a wild ride.

To be fair that last scene did serve as a transition to another scene, as a reporter from earlier is knifed to death on a waterbed. I could have mentioned her earlier, but she goes by so fast, you barely notice. This is leading into the final piece of the puzzle, so to speak, as the chainsaw wielding maniac carves a young girl in half after a tennis match… which leads to one of the greatest reactions from Lynda Day, as she shrieks into the air and curses the villain with a clenched fist, like she’s auditioning for Super Friends. Interesting little tidbit, they actually used a pig carcass for the grisly scene! Well, that’s enough victims and this film’s been going on long enough.

Kendall works at digging through personal files with the police as Mary heads to the dean’s house. Everyone seems to be zeroing in on the killer, who has all the body parts he needs, but what for? Just wait until you see, as they reveal the killer to be… exactly who you think it is! Especially if you know your film history, this seems to be a bit of typecasting. Oh and I’m sure the ending will still surprise you.

Pieces
To reiterate what I said earlier, Pieces is the crowning example of what people generally think of when they think of Grindhouse or Drive-In Classic. The premise is basic, yet with its twists and filled with oddball characters making daffy choices, packing enough macabre imagery soaked in blood and exhibiting some fine 80’s T & A. You’ll chuckle at the dialogue and line delivery, as characters seem to be taking it perhaps a bit too seriously or not enough. And let’s not forget scenes that seem to come completely out of left field. It may leave you scratching your head at parts, but for the most part, you’ll be jumping back in your seat with disgust or laughter. In every definition of the word, it’s a riot. It’s exactly what an exploitation film is defined as. It’s worth every penny to see.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Extreme gardening!
  • Piecing the puzzle together.
  • Skinny dip massacre.
  • Give her a hand… or arm!
  • Half-off tennis players.
  • Campus Stumped.
  • Franken-woman.
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Color this campus red!

8

blood

BREASTS

Topless option college. And a little something for the ladies.

7

beast

BEASTS

As if The Shadow with a chainsaw isn’t bad enough, you have to look our for Kung-Fu Professors and Willard.

8.3 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer for Pieces!”

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