2020 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 7: Scarab (1983)

DAY 7. THEY’RE OUT TO GET YOU: One with heavy paranoid (real or imagined). 

I was going to do A Scanner Darkly for the Scarecrow Challenge today, but somehow, someway I found a movie that might be even more off the wall insane than a Phillip K. Dick adaption. Just imagine that.

This only came out in the UK and Spain, as far as I know, and went straight to video in the U.S. Somehow, in a world where it seems like every mom and pop horror movie section rental has been pulled off the shelf and transformed into a 4K clean print with a million extras and a collectible slip cover, this one somehow escaped.

We begin with Rip Torn — yes, the Oscar and Emmy-nominated actor from The Larry Sanders Show and, of course, Freddy Got Fingered — screaming in Egyptian at a bug at the top of his lungs before transforming from a Nazi scientist who has somehow escaped war crimes before becoming the Egyptian god Khepera, the scarab-faced representation of the rising or morning sun. Sure, he represents creation and the renewal of life. But isn’t Lucifer also the light bringer?

Meanwhile, in a completely different movie, Murphy (Robert Gintry, The Exterminator) is getting decimated in a bar before he walks into an ambassador’s house and easily cucking him. Then he gets arrested.

Then, in the third movie of one movie, we watch a politican fencing with his graddaughter before one of his servants places a scarab on him and he ends up killing himself.

As if this barrage of stories doesn’t make you disoriented, we get back to Murphy, who watches another politican kill himself with a gun after anotehr scarab gets put on him and then a nun named Elena (Cristina S. Pascual, who played a night club singer hiding out with gay nuns in Pedro Almodóvar’s Dark Habits the very same year) runs away before revealing that she is the daughter of the Nazi scientist/Egyptian god.

Also, she has psychic powers.

This movie has it all. By all, I mean that it has two movies in one.

The first is all about Rip Torn dressed like a bird/bug human god who has long rituals of women dancing near-nude when he isn’t making love to women who transform into cows, at which point he spits milk into their faces. He also transforms outfits throughout the film, becoming the scuzzy direct to VHS version of Serpentor by the end of the proceedings.

The other movie is about Ginty strolling around, getting wasted, having sex with the wrong women and then using an axe to battle hooded bad guys.

At some point, the two movies come together and all them witches paint Rip Torn’s daughter’s bosom with weird squiggly black lines and make her up like Ming’s concubine took care of Dale Arden.

The tagline for this movie was “Evil, plotted by a mad sorcerer… bizarre beyond imagination.”

They’re more than half right.

This was written by Robert and Steve-Charles Jaffe (who also were behind Motel Hell; Robert also wrote Nightflyers and Demon Seed), with Steven-Charles directing*. Ned Miller and Jim Block, who were behind the Ashutosh Gowariker in America vehicle West Is West, were also on hand to presumably say things like, “Guys. Guys. Guys! This movie makes no sense.” Thank Khepera the brothers Jaffe had the good sense to tell them to shut the fuck up.

You know what I’m looking for in a movie? Half-nude dancers in Satanic rituals, screaming at bugs with microphones, Robert Ginty in anything and a movie that despite featuring human sacrifices throughout ends with the kind of music that you’d hear over the end of a failed McLean Stevenson sitcom and not bat at eye.

This is the kind of movie that I drive people nuts talking about. Trust me, you should be glad to be quarantined because if parties were still a thing, I’d sit next to you in a maniacal rage screaming “Ginty and Torn in the same film!”

There aren’t enough stars in every parallel reality to properly rate this batshit paen to…something. I’m just glad these crazy bastards had the gumption to go to Spain and convince people to give them money to make their politcial conspiracy of a scarab Nazi scientist god movie. Their balls are as huge Set’s testicles, which of course are healed at the same time as Horus’ eye after their comsic conflict.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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