We just bought a new house and let me tell you, if Becca had gone through what Cheng Lai-sheung goes through in this movie, she would have killed numerous folks too.
She has promised her parents — who were forced to move from their homes to make way for luxury real estate when she was a child — that she would get them a home some day. She’s already missed the opportunity to give her mother this gift, as she has died, but as her father is on his death bed, she has the goal of purchasing the Victoria Bay No. 1 high-rise.
The bank will only give her 70% of the money she needs and her father’s medical bills cost so much that she must take a second job, as those costs cut into her savings. Even her married lover refuses to help, so Lai-sheng allows her father to die one night so that the dream can come true.
Despite finally qualifying for the home, the owners raise the price again, at which point our heroine kills eleven people in a frenzy before cooly returning to work and demanding that the price be cut, as after all, who would want to live in a place where so many have died?
Josie Ho, who is Lai-sheung in this, decided that she wanted to make something as wild as Riki-Oh: The Story of Rikiwhile director and writer Pang Ho-cheung wanted something a bit more in the realm of reality. The outcome? Someone fainted and two people threw up during its Italian premiere, which is pretty much a standing ovation in my mind.
Banglar King Kong is how the filmmakers of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh see Kong and let me tell you, there is no way that American audiences are prepared for this.
There are times within the film where footage looks thirty years old and as if it played numerous times in drive-ins through the southwest, with pops and lines and dust all over the film. And then there are moments when it appears to be video, mostly for the music numbers. Music numbers? Yes, Banglar King Kong is packed with them. And finally, there are moments where old school greenscreen and evil Photshopped stills with Ken Burns effect on them are used. It’s like a remixed multimedia film with the budget of a trip to the grocery store and every moment is astounding.
Somehow, this movie has a running time of two hours and twenty-three minutes but I didn’t notice. My wife walked in for a bit, saw Kong and said, “This is upsetting. This movie is the kind of thing that I don’t want to watch.”
This is a film where people wear black leather ensembles to a jungle adventure. The Fay Wray in this is curvy and has a splash fight with a guy in this that looks like it got out of hand and the camera never cuts away. And when Kong starts stomping on buildings before going to see stock footage of a carnival that had to be filmed decades ago, it only got better.
Sure, the theme from Gladiator is in this, the buildings go from rear projection to cardboard cutouts and remote control cars are used. But it has a real Kong mask that I assume that Amazon delivered to make this film happen and stock footage of explosions and human fistfights mixed with Kong going wild in a city and sometimes, the jump cuts are so nonsensical that they challenge even my brain.
At one point, I thought that the directing style of Çetin İnanç took a mindset shift that permanently broke my ability to watch movies the same way ever again. I can happily report that this movie does the very same thing, as time, place, scene, pacing and camera angles do not matter any more. This feels like it was assembled from the ghosts of a hundred other movies and the dream of making one, a blockbuster version of King Kong unlike any seen before or since.
The copy I found on YouTube has long stretches where artifacted video breaks into the picture and the sound struggles to keep up with it. There’s also a scene at the end where the Fay Wray character hugs a reverse projection of the big dead ape and she just stands there with her arms open.
Herschell Gordon Lewis has informed both sides of my life, from his work in direct marketing teaching me the ways of marketing and his propensity toward making shameless exploitation showing me the ways of the world.
Directed by Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case) and Jimmy Maslon, this film takes you through the life of Lewis with the man himself speaking throughout. Plus, nearly everyone alive that had worked in his movies shows up and you also get to hear from John Waters and Joe Bob Briggs.
While this movie concentrates on the gore that everyone knows the man for, it also takes time to show his nudie-cuties, hillbilly and biker films, as well as delving into his love of fried chicken, which he made sure was on every single set. In fact, Colonel Sanders even shows up in Blast-Off Girls.
Sure, the movies of Lewis are cheap films that even he would not admit are art. After all, he was quoted as saying that he saw movies as a business and pitied anyone who saw it as an art film. But so what? His bally-hoo is something that movies no longer have. They also don’t have many Egyptian caterers ripping the tongues out of Playmates, but we can all dare to dream.
DAY 9. OG NETWORK: See something made after 2010 with no visible cell phones. No texting while watching this one!
Ah man, remember those great old days when the FBI was convinced Juggalos were a gang — which was no fun for them — and we weren’t worried about people standing back and standing by?
Look, if you don’t know the Insane Clown Posse, well…hmm. Where to begin?
Originally known as JJ Boyz and Inner City Posse, the group that would someday become known as ICP introduced supernatural lyrics to create what some call horrorcore. Their albums have all been concept in nature, telling the story of the Dark Carnival, a limbo beyond our reality where lives are judged. The Joker’s Cards that emerge are the albums of the band, designed to change the evil ways of the band’s listeners. Beyond just being a band, they’re a licensing juggernaut, even creating their own wrestling promotion and an annual event called the Gathering of the Juggalos.
So why not movies?
Here’s the thing — for a movie made by a rap group that dresses as evil clowns, I was totally expecting this movie to be horrible. And the truth is, I laughed out loud several times and was kind of awed home much it took from classic cartoons. Sure, it’s filthy as it gets, but there are moments of literal sidesplitting silliness.
Sheriff Sugar Wolf (ICP member Shaggy 2 Dope) has returned to Mudbug, the town of his birth, to find it in the grip of Big Baby Chips (ICP member Violent J) and his gang, which includes Raw Stank and Dusty Poot, who are played by Jamie Madrox and Monoxide of the band Twiztid. These evildoers have already killed Wolf’s father (Ron Jeremy) and brothers. Now, they sent assassins after our hero.
Then, amazingly, the movie takes a page out of Django, with Wolf’s hand being damaged — trust me, Franco Nero never had a gigantic cartoony hole in his hand that he looks through — and must learn all over again how to fight.
This film has plenty of actual actors in it, like Jason Mewes, Brigitte Nielsen, Jimmie Walker and Tom Sizemore, along with pro wrestlers liek Jimmy Hart, 2 Tuff Tony and Scott Hall.
Most of the characters in this film are the ancestors of the characters in Big Money Hustlas, another ICP film. They have said that at some point, a third movie — this time science fiction — would be made called Big Money Thru$ta$. I mean, one of the killers in this movie has laser beams for eyes.
I kind of love the idea that this movie is a spaghetti western that just so happens to have two characters that wear clown paint, which no one ever mentions throughout the entire film, along with plenty of moments of sheer anachronism.
This movie goes best with Faygo. Pour it directly over your head.
The best part of a slasher is that if it works, you get more than one. 2010’s Hatchet II starts exactly where the first ended, placing Marybeth Dunston (now played by Danielle Harris) into the grip of Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). There’s even a scene that ties in this movie to another Adam Green film Frozen, which film geeks — hello, everyone reading this — will enjoy.
Sadly, this was to be the first unrated horror movie to be released in theaters since 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, but pressure from the MPAA took it out of AMC Theaters before most fans got the chance to see it.
Marybeth learns that from Rev. Zombie (Tony Todd) that her father was one of the boys whose prank started the sequence of events that took Victor Crowley physically from this world, leaving behind his unstoppable ghost. Along with her uncle (Tom Holland, the director of Fright Night) and a team of hunters — all being offered $500 to get back Rev. Zombie’s boat and $5,000 for the head of Crowley — she ventures back into Honey Island Swamp one more time. But all, as they say, is not as it seems.
With references to Jason and Leslie Vernon, as well as numerous and incredibly inventive kills — the last one is incredible — this is pretty much a slasher lover’s dream film. Where movies like Scream use the genre as a joke and springboard for their own retread of the form, this is a tribute worth watching.
This movie is also known as Saw: The Final Chapter and we should all be so lucky.
This time, a man falsely reveals that he is a Jigsaw survivor, making him a celebrity before he really gets to be part of the game. While that’s happening, Detective Mark Hoffman — the new Jigsaw — is hunting down Jill Tuck, the wife of the original Jigsaw.
This movie starts with two men forced to saw one another to save the life of the woman they’re both sleeping with. Of course, given the human nature exploited by Jigsaw, they end up slicing her in half to survive.
Jill Tuck (Betsey Russell), the wife of John Kramer, the first Jigsaw, has turned to the FBI to save her as the new Jigsaw, Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) comes after her. He dispatches an entire office full of agents just to get near her, killing her with the original Reverse Bear Trap.
There’s also the aforementioned celebrity, a self-help flimflam man named Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery) whose need for fame ends up destroying his wife (and his nipples).
There’s a pretty cool twist that brings the story of Saw full circle at the end, however. The pig mask comes back, as does an actor that hadn’t appeared in any of the movies since the first one. Actually, the other two people with him are the two survivors from the start of the movie, but while this movie is at least ten years old, I’m going to not reveal the spoiler.
Despite there being no Scream movies for a decade — and no Ghostface murders in the universe of the films — there had been tons of Stab films, to the point that they’d become a joke. Sidney (Neve Campbell) had moved on to write books.
While the film skewers studios, the studio behind it — oh hello, Weinsteins — played with this movie so much that the original ending, which started with Sidney being stabbed and the ending, which set up a sequel where she would have amnesia and be stalked by the killer of this film, were both thrown out. Kevin Williamson was upset, but after so many go arounds with Dimension Films, what do you expect?
Sidney returns to on the fifteen anniversary of the murders, just in time for them to start all over again. Meanwhile, there’s a Stabathon showing other installments in the film within a film (look for Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell and others in cameos in bits directed by Robert Rodriguez) and a publicist (Allison Brie) who lured our heroine home just for publicity.
Emma Roberts from American Horror Story and Scream Queens plays Jill, Sidney’s cousin and there’s a whole new group of movie-quoting teens, including Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin.
Craven and Williamson had both hoped for a fifth and sixth film, but the movie didn’t do well and, sadly, Craven would pass on in 2015 (this was his last film). There was an MTV series without Williamson’s involvement, but supposedly a new film is on its way.
Life moved along as these films were made. In the first Scream, Cox and Arquette flirted. In the second, they were dating. The third was filmed just as they came back from their honeymoon. And they were separated by the time this one was finished.
For a film that’s critical of remakes and torture porn, it’s ironic that Craven produced recreated versions of Carnival of Souls, The Hills Have Eyes and Last House on the Left, with that last film pretty much creating the torture porn blueprint.
Did you know that we like Paul Naschy movies here? Oh, you’ve seen us post one of his movies ever few weeks? You know who else likes him and talks about him in this documentary? Just people like John Landis, Joe Dante, Antonio Mayans, Caroline Munro, Javier Aguirre, Jack Taylor, Jorge Crau and Donald. F. Glut.
Beyond hearing how Jacinto Molina Alvarez became Naschy, you also learn how his films fit into the troubled history of 20th century Spain and how his hard work led him to living out his monster movie dreams.
From stories about encounters with the Yakuza while making The Beast and the Magic Sword to what happened to the never released Howl of the Devil and every bit of werewolf-fur covered piece of history in between, this movie is a feast for Naschy fans or anyone wanting to learn more about Spanish horrror.
As stated in our previous review of Cha Cha starring Herman Brood, Nina Hagen, and Lene Lovich, your enjoyment of this (admittedly) pretentious “art house” flick hinges on your appreciation of the music of Ian Dury (which, I’ll admit, is an acquired taste for U.S ears raised on the commercial, new wave refrains of America’s the Knack and the Cars and the U.K.’s the Police and Gary Numan), the world’s first disabled “rock star.”
If you were lucky enough to have a college radio station in your area or frequented the then trendy, big city new wave clubs of the times, then you’re probably familiar with Ian Dury’s most memorable album hits of “Sweet Gene Vincent” and “Billericay Dickie,” but you’ve surely heard his hit singles “Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick” and “Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3” with the Blockheads in a TV series, film, or video game in recent years. The title of this bioflick is, of course, derived from Dury’s biggest selling and most memorable single, 1977’s “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.” And while MTV ignored Dury’s catalog, the burgeoning video channel embraced the music of ex-Blockheads Chaz Jankel and turned his single “Questionnaire” into a minor U.S radio hit (watch the MTV video link, you’ll remember it).
So, in regards to the “art house” aspects of the film: Don’t go into this expecting a fluid, commercialized Tinsteltown chronicle on Dury’s life, ala Ray (Ray Charles), Walk the Line (Johnny Cash), or What’s Love Got to Do With It (Tina Turner). In lieu of a traditional, chronological narrative (that’s punctuated with animated segments and kinetic editing typical of an arty, indie film), Dury (a fantastic Andy Serkis — who you know as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and as Ceasar in the Planet of the Apes reboot series) appears as a colorful, brash carnival barker, telling his own life story from the concert stage via a series of flashback (e.g., his wife gives birth to his child upstairs, while he’s telling his story on a club stage; of how, as a child, he contracted polio from a swimming pool and was bullied for his leg brace; of how he met Jankel backstage at Kilburn and the High Roads (Dury’s band prior to forming the Blockheads with Jankel) gig, etc.).
Dury would go on to become an actor in his own right, with roles with in several British films and television series. Here, in the U.S., you’ve most likely seen Dury in Bob Dylan’s 1987 box office bust Hearts of Fire (hopefully, we’ll get to that one for “Rock ‘n’ Roll Week”), The Cook, the Theif, His Wife & Her Lover (I dragged my date to see that one at an art house theatre because of Dury; she hated it, but of course), but you definitely saw Dury in the sci-fi flicks Split Second with Rutger Hauer (1992), Judge Dredd (1995), and The Crow: City of Angels (1996).
You can watch Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll as a free-with-ads-stream on TubiTv; if you’d prefer an ad-free experience, it’s available on You Tube Movies. You can also get all of the music of Ian Dury you could possibly need — featuring album tracks, videos, and live performances — over on his official You Tube page. You can also catch Dury at the top of his game with his 1978 appearance on the live German television rock program Rockpalast (aka “Rock Palace,” a Euro-version of U.S TV’s The Midnight Special), also on You Tube.
About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S Movies.
And the stars align at B&S Movies once again . . . courtesy of our propreitor, Sam, coming up with the idea of back-to-back “Mark L. Lester” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll”* tribute weeks. So this direct-to-video/streaming outing from the “director of Commando” . . . and our beloved redneck romps Steel Arena, Truck Stop Women, Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw . . . and Roller Boogie. . . and The Funhouse . . . and Class of 1984 . . . and 1999. . . and Firestarteris the prefect closing transition to our tribute week to all things Mark and our start of all things rock n’ punk! This time out, Lester only directs and leaves the writing to prolific SyFy and Lifetime Channel producer (Lester’s wife) Dana Dubovsky (Sand Sharks, Pterodactyl).
Taking its scripting cues from Great White’s tragic 2003 performance at The Station night club in Rhode Island** (which also served as fodder for “Blaze,” a 2003 “ripped from the headlines” episode of NBC-TV’s Law & Order: TOS that starred John Doe of X as “Teddy Connor,” the leader of the once great Wotan), Travis Bellamy (Hal Ozsan) and Dark Knights (think Buck Cherry’s “Lit Up” and “Crazy Bitch” colliding with Jet’s “Cold Hard Bitch“) love their pyrotechnics — and that love of the flame is what put them on top: Travis sets himself on fire amid a wall of sparks for the band’s encores. . . .
Oops. The club goes up in flames — and a 16-year-old (male) fan is trampled in the ensuing chaos.
Fast forward a year later: Dark Knights are cleared from any wrong doing and back on the road; but without the pyro-gimmicks, the ticket and albums sales are down and manager Eric Roberts (who produces; and is in this one a lot longer than most the films of his 500-plus resume) is urging Travis to “bring back the flames.”
. . . And in steps — instead of a Lifetime movie-inspired psycho babysitter or student or a long-lost “kidnapped” daughter or an orphaned niece infiltrating the family and tempting the emotionally flawed dad — an “innocent” groupie (Taryn Manning of Eminem’s 8 Mile and the Oscar nominated Cold Mountain) who begins to (bloodless and boringly) dispatch press agents, groupies, Eric Roberts (Lone Star Deception), and band members one by one.
Since this rock flick comes from the competent lens of Mark L. Lester, a man who’s blessed me with so many great films during my duplex-triplex theatre and video store youth, I really wanted to get lost in this horror-tinged murder mystery — in the same multiple-watches vein as Ash Avildsen’s intelligence rock n’ horror flick, American Satan (2017). And while Groupie isn’t utterly awful, this probably was going for the feel of Mark Wahlberg’s major studio rock romp, Rock Star (2001), as a slasher flick (with a crazy Jennifer Aniston performance), but it ends up being undone by its against-the-budget set and production design that leaves it meandering one step above a TV movie. (And if not for Lester and Roberts on the marquee — others have name-checked Taryn Manning — I wouldn’t have hit the big red streaming button at all.) I was hoping for some supernatural hocus pocus; e.g., the dead male fan returns as a female for revenge, ala The Wraith. Denied. We got a Hand that Rocks the Cradle twist instead.
Does Lester’s behind-the-camera’s eye and sense of tight pacing (this clocks in at a brisk 78-minutes) make for a more effectively-produced rock ‘n’ horror flick than say, Ferd and Beverly Sebastian’s Rocktober Blood (1984) — which, unlike Groupie, has no “second act” at all — absolutely. However, unlike Groupie, Rocktober Blood lends for repeat viewings because it gives us Billy Eye Harper in his face-painted and ghoul-masked glory, along with memorable, original tunes by Sorcery belted by Nigel Benjamin.
Perhaps if Groupie had the budgetary and creative confluence of American Satan and Rock Star — along with a few more boob shots, blood and, say, the retro-cum-modern rock sounds of Greta Van Fleet standing in for a Sammi Curr-styled rocker (Trick or Treat) fronting Dark Nights — we’d give Travis Bellamy some bow-to-the-alter-of Billy Eye worship. (Or even John Doe’s Teddy Connor and Wotan — who didn’t sing or play a note to achieve their faux band stardom.)
So while the film around him spins nothing we haven’t heard before from the rock n’ murder jukebox’s crackling speakers, Hal Ozsan (who you’ll recall in the early-2000’s final two seasons of Dawson’s Creek) shines (he’s the best part of the film) as trouble rocker Travis Bellamy — courtesy of his L.A. based band, Poets & Pornstars, providing the music for Dark Knights. You’ve probably seen Ozsan’s band live during their U.S opening slots for the revamped Alice In Chains (sans the late Layne Staley), the 21st century reinvigorated Bon Jovi, and modern rockers Muse. These days, Hal’s hung up his six strings to concentrate on his newly cast role as “Ryan Porter” on CBS-TV’s NCIS: New Orleans.
Check out thisplaylist of Poets & Pornstars’ 2007 second album; you can learn more about their albums on Discogs.
Groupie is readily available in the online marketplace as a DVD for your rock ‘n’ roll flick collection, but we found a free (with ads) copy over on Roku’s online streaming platform. There also a free (sign in) no-ads stream on Vudu and PPV streams on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and You Tube.
And for Tayrn Manning fans: She stars in another indie rock flick with the always awesome Peter Fonda (the wise ex-rocker), along with Jason Ritter (the troubled rocker) and Lucas Haas (the intrepid journalist), in the pseudo-cliched “road movie” The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’Roll (2010), a crossroad where the legends of the “27 Club” meets Eddie and the Cruisers with the dramatic arc and production quality of the rock flicks Almost Famous (based on the downfall of Humble Pie) and Still Crazy (based on the ’80s Animals reunion). Sorry, no freebies on this one, kids. You can check it out as a VOD on Amazon Prime (where it pulls 4 to 5 stars and a 91% approval), Apple iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and You Tube Movies.
* Don’t forget! July 19 to the 25 is “Rock ‘n’ Roll Week,” and we’ve got some great, deep obscurities to rock you all week long!