JESS FRANCO MONTH: La cripta de las condenadas: Parte II (2012)

Remember a few weeks ago when I watched La cripta de las condenadas? This is supposed to be a hundred years later and Fata Morgana is still in control of these women — Carmen Montes from Snakewoman, Eva Palmer from Jess Franco’s Perversion and actresses who only appeared in this film and its sequel: Marta Simoes, Olivia Deveraux and María Traven — who are trapped in what should be a crypt but is really Jess Franco’s apartment and man, what was it with the seventies, sex and wicker? And this is thirty some odd years later?

I’m putting to the test that theory that you’ve never seen a Franco movie until you’ve seen them all. Somehow, he convinced these women to writhe all over his big shaggy carpet and in bed and yes, on that wicker, and made it seem like the angel of death was coming for them through some words pasted in parts, if you could remain awake to read them, that is.

That said, if you can get a career doing what you love — and we have to imagine that like Sisyphus had to love the rock, Franco loved zooming in tight on pubic mounds — then you’re a success. Jess made money from this and he succeeded from beyond the grave by having people like me watching movies like this.

 

JESS FRANCO MONTH: La cripta de las condenadas (2012)

The poster for this movie? Gorgeous.

The description? “A group of women is locked in a cemetery crypt, convicted of an old curse. This kind of succubi, lewd and wicked, indulging years pass all kinds of sexual pleasures.”

The actual movie? Jess Franco in one or two rooms watching women writhe around and zoom in and out of their curves for 90 minutes or so.

Also, that’s no crypt. It’s someone’s apartment and it may as well be Franco’s.

A Bad Day at the Cemetery is all shot in an orange haze, all soft focus as women writhe on a white carpet that seems a lot like the one Joan Collins got blood all over in Tales from the Crypt and how do you keep a carpet like that clean? Would you have sex all over an impossible to clean and maintain shag?

The ladies on hand include writer and cinematographer Fata Morgana (she also made Montes de Venus with Franco), Carmen Montes from Snakewoman, Eva Palmer from Jess Franco’s Perversion and actresses who only appeared in this film and its sequel: Marta Simoes, Olivia Deveraux and María Traven.

Let’s dispense with questions like, “Should you watch that?” Jess Franco’s normal films are an acquired taste, much less his late in career digital video efforts which are just him being a creepy fly on the wall while women pose and occasionally touch one another and classic music plays. An Exterminating Angel is on the way and I guess if I knew that, I’d be doing the same as them.

DISMEMBERCEMBER: Santa’s Summer House (2012)

EDITOR: This was on the site for the first time on December 22, 2019.

What if David DeCoteau — yes, the director of A Talking Cat!?!Prey of the JaguarSorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and the utterly baffling Bigfoot vs. D.B. Cooper directed a family-friendly holiday movie? Alright, I have no idea what that’d be like, but sure. Let’s do that.

What if Chris Mitchum played Santa? Yes, Chris Mitchum from Aftershock, The Day That Time EndedFacelessBigfoot and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Tusk. I see you starting to get a bit weirded out, but let’s press on.

So who do we get for Mrs. Claus? Well, Cynthia Rothrock, of course. Yes, the hard fighting star of China O’BrienHonor and GloryRage and Honor and plenty more straight to video karate epics.

Honestly, what the fuck am I about to watch?

Let’s go one better. This movie was made in the exact same house as A Talking Cat!?!

They may have also shared the same budget, which was probably catering. Which was probably Jack in the Box.

Yeah, Mary Crawford may be the name in the credits, but this Santa movie is all the work of David DeCoteau. It feels the most porn holiday film I’ve ever seen without actual penetration. I mean, that wouldn’t do for this, a movie that’s trying to be kid friendly and feels holiday destroying.

And is that Gary Daniels I spy? Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star? In a Christmas movie? Wait! Martial artist Daniel Bernhardt, who was Alex Cardo in the second and third Bloodsport films? Surely we’re going to see fisticuffs and people go mano y mano, right?

Nope. They’re going to play croquet.

This is a Christmas movie not set at Christmas, replete with public domain holiday songs and Lucas-like wipes that use Google Images clip art. It’s as if it were edited in iMovie — I know it surely isn’t, it couldn’t be — but almost as if a family made this movie and sent it my way to drive me insane before the holidays and seasonal depression have their way with me in a threeway so rough that it had to be shot by Max Hardcore.

Gary (Daniels) is a workaholic married to another workaholic named Sadie, who is played by another world class asskicker, five-time would kickboxing champion Kathy Long. I mean, she’s known as The Punisher and the Queen of Mean. She played Fros-T in the aforementioned Rage and Honor. And why are she and her husband and their kids getting in a van and driving through some magical fog on their way to discover Santa’s Summer House?

Then there’s a caterer named Constance — what is it with DeCoteau and catering characters!?! — who bullies an orphan named Molly into giving up being a photographer.

Somehow, Robert Mitchum, the man who made The Night of the Hunter, one of my all-time favorite films, gave birth to the man who would play Santa here. Santa, who sits in a hot tub and just drops hints about what he does and none of the martial artists can pick up the sledgehammer obvious clues because they’re all too busy playing a game of croquet that may still be going on now, nearly eight years after this movie supposedly stopped filming.

As for Santa, all he wants to do is chill. He has like a month he works a year and it’s so much effort that he spends eleven months watching TV and just schvitzing in the hot tub. Chill, out Santa. Run, run Rudolph. And hey — for all the cookies Mrs. Claus cooks, she seems to be keeping in pretty decent shape. Must be all the times she kicks dudes in the head.

Every holiday season, I discover one movie that makes me at once fall in love and desperately hate the holiday. This year, Santa’s Summer House is that movie. Watch it at your own peril, because trust me, this one will fucking own you.

DeCoteau also directed Christmas Spirit and The Great Halloween Puppy Adventure, two more holiday films. If you don’t think I’m going to hunt those down right now, you may have never been to our site before. I mean, Eric Roberts and a Halloween puppy? Come on. I’m not made of stone.

True story #1: I once had the wild idea of writing a Dukes of Hazzard script where Japanese businessmen try to buy out Hazzard County from Boss Hogg, who of course gets swindled himself. Ninjas would get involved — of course — and Cynthia Rothrock would play a new Duke cousin who was in the army and had learned how to fight overseas. Obviously, I went to art school. Anyways, imagine my surprise when Ms. Rothrock showed up in 1997’s The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion! The moral: Sometimes, the universe listens to you.

True story #2: Cynthia used to be married to her kung fu instructor Ernest Rothrock. The guy owns schools all over Pittsburgh, including one I drive past every single day. When I was a kid, I dreamed that Cynthia was really at these schools and would teach me the ass kicking powers I needed to decimate the bullies who made my life hell. The moral: Instead of dreaming, I turned to Satan and got my revenge Trick or Treat style. Thanks, Sammi Curr!

You can watch this — with help from Rifftrax — on Tubi.

DISMEMBERCEMBER: Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)

Peter Hewitt directed Bill & Ted’s Bogus JourneyGarfield and Thunderbirds, so who knows what he got into when he made this, the fifth Home Alone movie, made for the Disney Channel. It’s written by Aaron Ginsburg and Wade McIntyre and doesn’t have the McCallister family but instead a new kid named Finn Baxter (Christian Martyn) who plays video games all the time.

The bad guys are three thieves, Sinclair (Malcolm McDowell), Jessica (Debi Mazar) and Hughes (Eddie Steeples). I remember when I was young and I believed that McDowell was someone who brought prestiege to a movie. Now I realize that much like the man whose role he assumed for Rob Zombie, McDowell is the Donald Pleasence of today. I mean, he’s not Eric Roberts, but very close.

This was going to be called Home Alone: Alone in the Dark which sounds way too dark, right? It also references to all the other films even though its character is in no way connected to them, so it makes you wonder why you’re watching this movie instead of those movies, which is not how a sequel should leave you feeling.

A CHRISTMAS STORY: A Christmas Story 2 (2012)

If you love A Christmas Story, avoid this movie.

Six years later, fifteen-year-old Ralphie Parker (Braeden Lemasters) wants a 1939 Mercury Eight convertible, not a Red Ryder BB gun, but he crashes the car when he goes to look at it. That means that he, Flick (David W. Thompson) and Schwartz (David Buehrle) must get jobs including working at Higbee’s.

Directed by Brian Levant (who made the sequels Problem Child 2Problem Child 3Beethoven’s Big Break and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas — to be fair, he also made the first Beethoven and The Flintstones — and written by Nat Mauldin who had the sheer balls to pull a Jean Shepherd and narrate this, A Christmas Story 2 is everything the original movie is not, a film that just plays up moments like rememberberries and cheapens them.

Daniel Stern plays the Old Man, which is kind of funny because his narration on The Wonder Years was directly ripped off from Shepherd’s voice over in A Christmas Story while Stacey Travis plays mom and Valin Shinyei plays Randy, who dresses like Buck Rogers for most of the running time. It also says that “The Genuine, Authentic, 100% American Christmas is Back” and this was filmed in British Columbia. It takes every genuine moment of the first film and fan fictions it so that everything happens again, all looking horrible and not warm and well-made like Bob Clark and Jean Shepherd once gave us. Everyone involved with this should get coal for the rest of their life.

I own this movie and hate that it is in my house.

DISMEMBERCEMBER: Last Ounce of Courage (2012)

The war on Christmas is on, people.

Marshall Teague may be known as Jimmy Reno from Roadhouse but here he’s Mayor Bob Revere, a man who has lost his son Thomas (Austin Marks) to a war overseas, then lost his daughter-in-law Kari (Nikki Novak) and grandson Christian (Hunter Gomez) when they moved away. Now, he’s found a new battle, as he learns that kids aren’t allowed to sing Christmas carols and they took the Christmas tree down in front of the government building. They had to take the cross down on the mission where they feed the homeless, too. But Bob seems like a good guy, the kind of person who does surgery on bikers which is not the type of thing a pharmacist does, but hey, whatever.

Bob also is one of those guys that rides a Harley with a big American flag hanging off the back and wants you to say something about it. Come on, he dares you.

Also: his wife is Jennifer O’Neill. Yes, the same Jennifer O’Neill from Fulci’s The Psychic and Scanners.

This brings him into conflict with lawyer Warren Hammerschmidt (Fred Williamson, the Hammer in a religious right wing film which is on brand for him now) and even put in jail for his beliefs. That’s when I noticed he had a Satan Sucks patch and another that had 666 crossed out. He also meets Jesus in jail and man, Jesus looks metal.

Directed by Kevin McAfee and Darrel Campbell, who wrote the script and book that this was based on with Richard Headrick from a story by Gina Headrick, this movie also has Kari falling for her dead husband’s best friend, the Mayor’s daughter being on CNN as an anchor, Bill O’Reilly showing up on a TV and a theater director putting on a holiday play that keeps refusing to put religious things in it, so they lock him in a closet while he lisp screams in protest.  It also starts and ends with Ronald Reagan quotes.

Did you know people in Vietnam can be executed for celebrating Christmas?

In 2012, Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee took part in a telemarketing campaign that involved making over four million robocalls to promote the film. A lawyer just like Warren Hammerschmidt figured out that this was a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, as it was in the guise of a political survey, and a class-action lawsuit was later filed which ended up costing the producers of this movie $32 million dollars.

So let me soap box during this holiday movie. For years, there’s been a battle over the Nativity not being in front of my hometown municipal building. If you want that there, you also need to respect that there should be a Jewish display, a Kwanza display, a Satanic display and even something for Scientology. This is not a country formed by religious zealots, but instead a country by those seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. Your way may be the way in your place of worship but if I respect it, you should also respect my belief. That’s the whole point behind Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas, the true start of the War on Christmas. What will prayer in schools solve? I bet everyone prays when their schools get shot up, huh? I know that it’s so basic — and I rarely discuss my political or religious feelings on this site because it should be all about movies — but can’t we just respect our differences? Didn’t Jesus choose not the rich religious leaders but the lowest of the low to spend time with?

Also: when did bikers go from 1% and against the law to suddenly being blind believers in the right wing? Didn’t bikers used to hate cops too? Maybe I was watching the wrong movies.

American Reunion (2012)

Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who directed and wrote this, also made the Harold and Kumar movies and along with Josh Heald, the series Cobra Kai. They also produced Blockers, which is pretty much an American Pie movie.

Why the class would all go to a thirteenth reunion, well, who knows, but the film finds them all at different paths in their lives. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michele (Alyson Hannigan) are married with kids, Oz (Chris Klein) is a sportscaster with an unfaithful girlfriend, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a work-from-home dad, Paul (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is traveling the world and Stifler (Seann Willian Scott) is stuck working as a temp for a boss that demeans him.

Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy) is now a widower, so if you guessed that he’s going to end up with Stiffler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge, you get this movie. And you’ll also enjoy that Stiffler ends up with Paul’s mom (Rebecca De Mornay). She even says a variation of her Risky Business come-on, “Are you ready for me, Stifler?”

It’s funny that Seann William Scott didn’t even have a sequel clause from the first film. For this onem he got an executive producer credit — same as Jason Biggs — and they each were paid $5 million plus a percentage of the profits. Alyson Hannigan and Eugene Levy were paid $3 million with the rest of the cast earning between $500,000 to $700,000 range, except Tara Reid. She got $250,000, which kind of makes me a little brought down.

I’m shocked we haven’t had another sequel or a series or some reimagining at this stage in the game. There were enough issues in this one that I worry that if they ever make one more, it’s going to be like The Bradys which is non-stop soap opera sadness.

DISMEMBERCEMBER: Silent Night (2012)

At once a remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night and the sixth movie in the series, it’s amazing how good Silent Night is. Director Steven C. Miller turned to action films after this, which is a shame, because he gets how horror works. The script by Jayson Rothwell is great, too.

There’s a Santa killing sinners in Cryer, Wisconsin and he’s not shy or quiet about it. The cops, on the other hand, are following the lead of Sheriff James Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) and not telling the mayor or the media. Deputy Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King, the queen of 2000s remakes after being in My Bloody Valentine 3D and Mother’s Day) is on the case as she worries if she’s made for being a cop, struggling to live up to the example of her father Hank (John B. Lowe), the former sheriff, and attempting to get over the death of her husband.

For a small town, there are a ton of suspects, including drug dealer Stein Karsson (Mike O’Brien), Reverend Madely (Curtis Moore) or drunk Santa Jim Epstein (Donal Logue). Or maybe it could be someone involved in the night that Santa turned a flamethrower on a party, which was based on the real life Covina Holiday Massacre in which Bruce Jeffrey Pardo dressed as Santa and then killed nine people by gunshot wounds and fire.

An old man regaining his voice to yell “Watch out!,” someone being impaled on antlers and even a “Garbage day!” callback. Silent Night has fun being in this film series and brings plenty of gore and holiday spite to stand out and be at the top of the holiday horror tree.

PITTSBURGH MADE: Birth of the Living Dead (2012)

Director and writer Rob Kuhns does a great job in this of not only explaining why Night of the Living Dead is so important, but getting fans like Larry Fessenden — who executive produced — to tell why the film is so beloved. Of course George Romero shows up — John Russo declined, so they say — as well as film critics Elvis Mitchell, Jason Zinoman and Mark Harris, as well as industry heavyweight Gale Anne Hurd and Bill Hinzman, the first zombie from Night, as he takes part in a zombie walk.

You probably have heard every story and seen every doc there is on the film that began modern horror as well as gave Pittsburgh its title as the zombie capitol of the world. That said, this has some nice animation and the story directly from the main creator. Maybe there’s even something in here you haven’t seen. I mean, there’s a teacher who shows the film to his kids and explains zombie physics to them as well as some of the children who saw this on a matinee — the same old Roger Ebert wrote about — and gets them to tell how they grew up after seeing zombies chow down on those doomed and barbecued folks back in Evans City.

You can watch this on Tubi.

THANKSGIVING TERROR: Thankskilling 3 (2012)

Somehow, this movie has nearly no humans and the wildest plot possible. In a world where ThanksKilling 2 was actually released, a movie that took Turkie into space, as you’d expect. Yet it failed to a level that anyone watching the movie died viewing it, so the studio destroyed it, all except for one copy that Turkie — now forced to be a normal family-having bird — wants to find, duplicate and destroy the world unless a series of puppets — Flowis the rapping granny, WiseTurkey, Muff, Yomi and Rhonda the bisexual space worm — created by Uncle Donny (Daniel Usaj) can stop him.

Huh?

Where Thankskilling was a slasher with a puppet demonic turkey as its villain, this movie just decides to throw everything inside the bird and drop it into a deep fryer to see what happens. Directed by Jordan Downey, who wrote this along with Mike Will Downey and Kevin Stewart, this has moments where everyone is turned into a video game, as well as Turkie saying, “Gravy” when he gets a chainsaw wing. If that makes you laugh, then you’ll love this. If you thought that was stupid, well, this movie has about 89 minutes more to attack you with.

I mean, this movie is quite obviously drugs and has a puppet’s anus being used to open a gateway to space. I love that I got to write that sentence.

You can watch this on Tubi.