2021 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 4: She Kills (2016)

4. WHEN THE TABLES TURN: Victim becomes stalker, hunter becomes the hunted etc. 

Sadie’s husband has been murdered and she’s been assaulted by a gang called The Touchers on the day of her wedding. That attack has unleashed a horrific power deep within her and an insatiable desire to get revenge with the newfound power of, well, her lady business. Satan himself has laid claim to her sex but she’s learned how to harness its powers to be some kind of orgasmic Ghost Rider.

Written and directed by Ron Bonk (House Shark), this movie has something to offend nearly everyone, from cats used as nunchakus to a casual disregard for every person in the film. It also has the kind of bad acting that is trying to be bad, which usually turns me off on a movie. But hey, the challenge was revenge and this is the one that I picked.

This movie will probably split people. There will be a “How transgressive!” group of people. Equally, there will be folks that say, “What a badly made movie.” And then there will be people who say, “Instead of watching a movie inspired by Thriller: A Cruel Picture, why don’t I just watch that movie?”

I leave it to you to figure out just how much I love Christina Lindberg (actually, I can’t measure it).

You can watch this on Tubi.

Exploring: Neil Merryweather on Film

Neil Merryweather, left, James Newton Howard, right, with the Space Rangers/Neil Merryweather Facebook.

Canadian rock singer, bass player and songwriter Neil Merryweather, born on December 27, 1945, recorded and performed with musicians including Steve Miller, Dave Mason, Lita Ford, Billy Joel, and Rick James.

He passed away on March 29, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada, after a short battle with cancer.

Neil Merryweather, influenced by David Bowie with his Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars project, achieved his low-selling, yet critically acclaimed creative peak of seventies excess with two heavy-psych space-rock albums from his Space Rangers project, released in 1974 and 1975.

Devotees of early-seventies glam-rock and proto-metal obscurities may note the similarities in artwork and sound on the Space Rangers to that of the later, John Entwistle-fronted rock opera of the Flash Fearless vs. the Zorg Women (October 1975) project featuring Detroiter Alice Cooper; the album itself inspired by Bowie’s Ziggy persona.

A Canadian singer and bassist, Neil Merryweather got his professional start with the Just Us, which released 1965’s “I Don’t Love You b/w I Can Tell” on Quality Records (the label had a major Canadian and U.S. chart hit with “Shakin’ All Over” from the Guess Who). Merryweather eventually joined Rick James (later known for his 1981 disco-funk smash, “Superfreak”) in the Mynah Birds (which featured Neil Young and Bruce Palmer, who had already left for Buffalo Springfield) and recorded the August 1967 single, “It’s My Time,” at Detroit’s Motown Studios. Upon the departure of Rick James, Merryweather kept the Mynah Birds active with fellow Canadian Bruce Cockburn (later known to U.S. radio and video audiences for the singles “Wondering Where the Lions Are” from 1980 and 1984’s “If I Had a Rocket Launcher”; Neil and Cockburn also played together in Flying Circus).

Neil’s bandmate in Mama Lion — and its harder-edge version, known as Heavy Cruiser, sans Lynn Carey — keyboardist James Newton Howard, became a go-to Hollywood soundtrack producer. You’re heard his work since the early ’80s — most notably with Wyatt Earp, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, I Am Legend, and Red Sparrow.

Merryweather then established Mama Lion with lead vocalist Lynn Carey and signed with Ripp’s Family Productions (also the home to Billy Joel). After issuing two Janis Joplin-inspired, psychedelic-blues n’ soul efforts with Preserve Wildlife and Give It Everything I’ve Got (both 1972), Mama Lion — sans Carey — became the harder, blues-rocking Heavy Cruiser. Their critically acclaimed, two album stint with Heavy Cruiser and Lucky Dog (1972) attracted the attention of a more industry-reputable managerial suitor, Shep Gordon (he also attempted to sign Iggy Pop; he lost to Danny Sugerman). Gordon wanted to sign and book Heavy Cruiser as Alice Cooper’s opening act. Sadly, Artie Ripp and Shep Gordon didn’t get along, and the Gordon-Cooper deal soured. Along the way, Merryweather was offered — and turned down — the bassist spot in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

After assisting Billy Joel in the studio on an early demo of “Piano Man,” which led to Joel signing with Columbia Records, Merryweather devised the glam-inspired, proto-metal Space Rangers project around the then high-tech Chamberlin keyboard, also electronically augmenting the band with a then-groundbreaking use of Octivators and Echoplexes. Initially recording with Capitol, Merryweather issued Space Rangers (1974), then Kryptonite (1975), on Mercury.

Billy Joel, with Neil Merryweather and Heavy Cruiser (Rhys Clark and Alan Hurtz) jamming on “Heart of Gold.”

After losing Iggy Pop and Merryweather, Gordon signed Detroit guitarist Dick Wagner, formerly of the Frost, with his new endeavor, Ursa Major, which featured Billy Joel in its embryonic stages.

Ursa Major became Cooper’s opening act and Wagner wrote “Only Women Bleed.”

Tim McGovern, the drummer in Mama Lion and the Space Rangers, would find success as a guitarist. Starting with the L.A new-wave band the Pop, and then with the Motels, McGovern found MTV success with “Belly of the Whale,” as the frontman for the Burning Sensations. They placed their cover of Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ “Pablo Picasso” on the punk-influenced soundtrack for 1984’s Repo Man.

Merryweather, sensing the changing times, adopted a pop-rock, new-wave sound with Eyes, a Holland-based band featuring ex-members of the Nina Hagen Band* and Herman Brood’s Wild Romance*, which released Radical Genes on RCA Records. However, Merryweather returned to his heavy-metal roots — inventively streamlining and glamming the “old sound” for a wider, commercial appeal — as the manager, bassist, and chief songwriter for the solo career of ex-Runaway Lita Ford on her progenitive hair-metal debut, Out for Blood.

Leaving the industry after the Ford project, but not leaving his creative side behind, Merryweather forged a career as an award-winning painter, sculpture, and photographer and worked in the creative department for the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works. As the calendar flipped to the 21st century, Merryweather returned to the music business, composing music for teen-oriented television shows and, with ex-Space Rangers Mike Willis and Jamie Herndon, made plans to enter the studio for a new, third Space Rangers album. His other music projects — formed with ex-Space Ranger Jamie Herndon and ex-Lita Ford drummer Dusty Watson were known as Hundred Watt Head and The La La Land Blues Band.

His last project, prior to his passing, was a third album with Janne Stark, formerly the guitarist with Swedish New Wave of British Heavy Metal upstarts Overdrive, which released the classic hard rock albums Metal Attack (1983) and Swords And Axes (1984). You can learn more about the Merryweather Stark band — and their albums Carved in Rock (2018) and Rock Solid (2020) — at their official Facebook page. You may leave condolences at Neil Merryweather’s personal Facebook page, which will continued to be managed by his survivors.

Neill completing one of his many artworks/courtesy of Neil Merryweather Facebook.

And, with that, let’s roll the films — and TV series — of Neil Merryweather!

The Seven Minutes (1971)

Leave it to Russ Meyer — of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls fame — to be the only filmmaker to realize the soundtrack potential of the musical scope that is Neil Merryweather. And the potential behind the well-researched, sexually-charged novels of screenwriter Irving Wallace (his early ’60s books, published by Simon & Schuster — The Chapman Report, The Prize, The Man, and 1976’s The R Document — were all adapted, as was The Seven Minutes, by others).

While Russ Meyer’s name immediately says “sex,” the film carries a deeper meaning on the effects of pornography and its relationship to issues regarding freedom of speech: it’s also a meta-movie: about a book, The Seven Minutes, purported as the “most obscene piece of pornography ever written.” A district attorney on the political fast track for a senatorial seat uses the book’s erotic infamy to indict a college student for a brutal rape and murder, as well as the book store owner who sold the book to the student.

Typical of a Meyer film, while it lacks his usual “tits and ass” (demanded by the studio), the casting is B&S About Movies-crazed: In addition to Meyer’s wife and 20th Century Fox Studios’ contract player Edy Williams, the cast features Yvonne De Carlo, John Carradine (the last decent film he was in), the always-welcomed Charles Napier, a self-playing Wolfman Jack, and in another early role, Tom Selleck (Daughters of Satan).

As for Neil Merrryweather: “Midnight Tricks,” from his pre-Mama Lion joint album with Lynn Carey — Vacuum Cleaner (1971) by the concern Merryweather & Carey — appears in the film. (Neil’s works with Heavy Cruiser and Mama Lion were distributed by the Paramount Studios-imprint, Family Productions.)

The duo’s relationship with Meyer goes back to the smut-auteur recruiting Lynn Carey for the Stu Phillips-produced soundtrack to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Battlestar Galactica ’78 is one of his many); Lynn sings (“Find It” and “Once I Had You”) for that film’s character in the faux band, The Carrie Nations, along with Barbara “Sandi” Robison. While Lynn’s voice appears in the film, for legal reasons, she does not appear on the subsequent, original soundtrack album.

As a child actress, Lynn appeared in the ’60s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E and Lassie; in the early ’80s, she had a stint on the U.S. daytime drama, Days of Our Lives. She made her lone film appearances in Lord Love a Duck (1966; with Roddy McDowall) and How Sweet It Is! (1968; with James Gardner). Lynn’s attempt at moving into ’80s AOR (think ’80s glam-bent Heart) led to her songs appearing in I Married a Centerfold (1984), Challenge of a Lifetime (1985), Radioactive Dreams (1985) (“All Talk” appears in the film, but on the soundtrack), Hollywood Harry (1985), and Combat High (1986).

Lita Ford: Out for Blood (1983)

By the mid-70s, Neil resided in the Netherlands, where, through Chrysalis Records in London, he set up an imprint, Clear, in cooperation with the Dutch company, Dureco. While developing new acts out of Chrysalis’ studios in Miami and Los Angeles, he released his 12th album, his three-years later follow up to Kryponite (1975) by the Space Rangers, with the solo album, Differences (1978). He then formed the more timely, new-wave outfit Eyes, which released their lone album, Radical Genes.

Then, with new wave and punk on the downward stroke and glam metal on the rise: a new musical adventure called forth. . . .

You know the story: Lita Ford was a member of the Runaways (duBeat-e-o). Joan Jett was fed up with Cherrie Currie (The Rosebud Beach Hotel) as the frontwoman. Currie was tired of being pushed on back burner. Joan wanted to take the band in a punk vein (which she did: with members of the Clash and the Sex Pistols, which morphed into her solo debut, Bad Reputation). Lita wanted to take the band in a metal direction, which Joan hated.

So, Neil, as he did with Lynn Carey, first with the Vacuum Cleaner duo project, and their two albums with Mama Lion, found a new muse for his next musical direction: a creative detour that returned to his ’70s hard-rock roots first explored in the bands Heavy Cruiser and the Space Rangers.

As the mastermind behind a new, full-metal Lita, Neil served as her manager and producer (Billy Joel’s ex-Svengali, Artie Ripp, co-produced). In addition to playing bass — his career instrument of choice — Neil wrote four of the albums nine cuts: the album’s title cut song (posted above), “Ready, Willing and Able,” “Die for Me Only (Black Widow),” and “On the Run.” If you know Neil’s artistic side: he designed all of his own albums covers, costumes, and stage shows throughout his career: Out for Blood for blood was no exception: he constructed the chain-web, the cover, and the band’s outfits; he also designed the MTV video single.

Sadly, his partnership with Lita Ford was short-lived. The experience was such that Neil retired from the business to work as a graphic artist — his second biggest love — for government agencies in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He went on to win numerous awards for his paintings and multi-media pieces.

Ash vs. Evil Dead (2016)

What can we say about this Equinox (1970) inspired franchise from Sam Raimi that hasn’t already been said? Well, we finally worked up the courage to say something about the film that started it all, Evil Dead (1981) — at least Sam “the Bossman” Pacino did — of the highly-influential “Midnight Movie” splatter fest.

As for the series, itself: we touched base with the Bruce Campbell-starring series as part of our “Lee Majors Week” tribute blowout — as Lee appeared as Brock Williams, Ash’s pop, in the second and third seasons of Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead.

As for the Neil Merryweather connection: “Star Rider,” from the Space Rangers’ 1975 second and final album, Kyrponite, appears in “Home”; the first episode of the series’ second season, it served as the introduction to Lee’s character.

So, wraps up our exploration of Neil’s all-too-brief connection to film.

This feature’s intro-obituary originally appeared in the Medium pages of R.D. Francis: “Neil Merryweather: Rock’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Space Ranger, Dies.” Portions also appeared in the article “Other Musical Phantoms: Neil Merryweather and Jim Gustafson. Who? (Then You Don’t Know William Kyle Eidson II or Lori Lieberman, Either).”

You can discover and listen to Neil’s catalog on his official You Tube page. There are also numerous uploads of his albums by his many, worldwide fans.

We previously explored the soundtrack work of the late Eddie Van Halen — as well as his lone acting gig — with our “Exploring: Eddie Van Halen” on Film” feature.
To learn more about another obscure, musical “phantom” of the ’70s, be sure to visit with the article: “Arthur Pendragon: Jim Morrison’s Doppelganger.”

* We reviewed Nina Hagen and Herman Brood’s dual-acting roles in the film Cha-Cha (1979).

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publish music reviews and short stories on Medium.

Holidays (2016)

Some people love holidays and decorate their homes based on them. Others, well, they pretty much hate the idea of celebrations that bring people together. My wife would be the former, I’d be the latter, but we both agreed that we didn’t enjoy this.

In the first story, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (who made the wonderful Starry Eyes and the not-so-wonderful Pet Sematary as a team) tell what feels like an unfinished story about Valentine’s Day, specifically one young lady’s love for her coach and hate of those that bully her. My major issue — well, one of many major issues, including an over-reliance on gore, a lack of a connective story and too many short films that should be on their own and not part of an overall portmanteau — with modern anthologies shows up here: this story could not exist on its own. Maybe so much of my love of these stories remains rooted in the EC Comics structure: someone is hurt, revenge occurs and the close is poetic justice (which is not just the name of a story in Amicus’ EC Comics masterwork Tales from the Crypt).

Gary Shore, who made Dracula Untold, directed the St. Patrick’s Day story, which is a pretty basic tale: girl gets strange gift from student, student’s dad has sex with knocked out girl, girl gives birth to a snake and loves it as if it were a human child. As the stories go in this movie, this is probably as good as it gets.

Nicholas McCarthy, the director of The Prodigy, made Easter, in which a young girl catches the bunny of said holiday, who ends up being a horrific crucified Christ figure. There’s not really anywhere else the story can go after that. If you’re into shocking visuals without much substance, by all means, enjoy.

Sarah Adina Smith made Mother’s Day, which has nearly every witches trying to get a woman pregnant cliche there is. Again, I’m sorry to be a broken record, but nearly every story in this has left me beyond cold.

Anthony Scott Burns made the film Come True recently and his Father’ Day segment gets close to what I demand from anthology horror: a story with a beginning, middle and end that doesn’t forget that it should build some tension and not just be all about gross out scenes or being transgressive (which trust me, has its place). Plus, Michael Gross is always great and Jocelin Donahue has been a favorite — and will always remain there — after The House of the Devil.

Kevin Smith made Mother’s Day and it has all the hallmarks of his oeuvre: female empowerment, offensive humor and strange situations. It is, however, not good at all. Would you cast your daughter in a story where a man is given a knife and told to make his penis into a vagina? If the answer is yes, thank you for reading our site, Mr. Smith. Chasing Amy should not be in the Criterion collection, but you seem like a nice enough fellow.

Scott Stewart directed Priest and Legion before making the Seth Green-starring Christmas segment, in which a father struggles to get his son virtual glasses that show what is really inside someone. A cute idea, somewhat well told.

Kölsch and Widmyer wrote the final New Year’s Eve segment, which was directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer (Daniel Isn’t Real). It’s a meet cute about two serial killers finding one another and only one surviving their first date.

Do yourself a favor and just watch the Father’s Day segment and don’t subject yourself to the rest. Life is short and if you’re just living for the next holiday — or to watch this — you’re wasting your time.

Vicious (2016)

Roxy is an exotic dancer is stalked by a man who won’t leave her alone until she agrees to stop being a dancer, which causes her to lose everything in her life that she ever cared about. Pretty much every man — with the possible exception of the bouncer — is a horrible person and our heroine has to figure out a way to simply survive.

I expected this movie to be a quick and cheap stripper movie and ended up watching a movie that was well directed and filmed that built some genuine tension throughout. Writer/director Jason Rosenblatt has been making shorts since this movie, but I’m really interested in his next full-length attempt.

Check it out for yourself and see a film that tells the story of the control of dancers on stage and the control that men try to exert upon them.

You can watch this on Tubi or order it from Wild Eye Releasing.

LEE MAJORS WEEK: Almosting It (2016)

“A dissatisfied twentysomething seeks life and relationship advice from a retirement home playboy played by Lee Majors, with mixed results.”

I mean, when you put it that way, you know I’m going to watch your movie.

Writer, director and lead actor William von Tagen made this auteur project. It’s the story of Ralph, a nursing home worker who dreams of being a science fiction writer.

Beyond Majors, the film also features Annie Bulow, Jessica Sulikowski, Bailey Heesch, Cassandra Lewis, Jane Merrow (who played Irina Leonova, a Soviet officer and scientist who was a love interest for Steve Austin on three episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man), Jennifer Levy, Jake Koeppl and Terry Kaiser, who the normal world knows as Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s but you and I know as Dr. Wachtenstein from Tammy and the T-Rex and Count Spretzle from Mannequin Two: On the Move.

Really, Majors and Kaiser are the best things in this movie, but it does have some unexpected twists and it’s not the worst independent film I’ve seen about finding yourself in your late twenties.

You can watch this on Tubi.

LEE MAJORS WEEK: Wild Bill Hickok: Swift Justice (2016)

Shot where the TV series Dry Creek was made, Wild Bill Swift Justice is a retelling of the tale of Wild Bill Hickok. Hickok has settled down as a lawman in a small town, but now Marcus Roby and his gang threaten to destroy everything.

This is the second time this week that a bunch of actors that I loved starred in a movie that I hated for every second they weren’t on screen. I mean, Lee Majors and Martin Cove are in this movie and I still disliked it. That has to be some kind of feat.

Also — Jeff Fahey is on the poster and doesn’t list this on his IMDB. When Fahey doesn’t want anything to do with your movie, you know that you have a real problem.

Honestly, this movie had the production values of a 1990’s VCA Western adult film with none of the payoff. That sounds like a compliment but I assure you that it is not.

You can watch this on Tubi.

LEE MAJORS WEEK: Jean (2016)

Sure, the IMDB description says, “A young girl and her dog make a daring journey into the wilderness where she discovers the true meaning of nature, sacrifice and life.”

The truth is that this movie feels like it was shot cinéma vérité style, with no one cluing the grandfather that he was in an actual movie as he rants and raves. He also has flashbacks to when he was young and was in a gang that continually yells, “The strength of the wolf is the pack! The strength of the pack is the wolf!”

Also, this is a family-friendly movie that features a young girl nearly dying and a dog being bitten by a snake not just once, but twice and the second time, we know it’s coming which makes seeing a gorgeous animal brought low twice as painful.

Then, after we go through a journey through the desert that feels like we just did it ourselves, the film becomes about a prom and Jean’s date’s sister fixing her up in what should be Pretty Woman style mirth but ends up feeling like the central relationship in Bound if you know what I’m talking about — and as the great man says — and I think you do.

Wait, I can hear you wondering, “Where is Lee Majors?”

He plays a rock.

I’m not joking, Majors is the voice of a Spiritual Stone that ends up fixing everything. I have no idea who wants to see a movie where a young girl nearly loses her dog, goes to the prom, loses her grandfather and there’s a rock with the same voice as Steve Austin.

But man, I’m glad I saw it, because the scene still makes me laugh just remembering it.

You can watch this on Tubi. And you totally should, but you know, do all the drugs first.

KAIJU DAY MARATHON: Daikaiju Mono (2016)

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we work on Godzilla vs. Kong movies all day, we wanted to bring back this pro wrestling versus giant monsters movie, which stars New Japan Pro Wrestling champion Kota Ibushi and wrestling and MMA legend Minoru Suzuki. It originally ran on October 7, 2019. Kaze ni nare!

Japan is in a mess to say the least. The weather is all screwed up, volcanoes have stopped erupting, there are too many virgins and that can only mean one thing — a giant monster named Mono is on the loose.

Disgraced scientist and Sailor Moon cosplayer Doctor Totaro Saigo has a special formula that can transform anyone — even the lowly assistant Nitta — to become a gigantic super soldier ready to take on even the largest of kaiju.

Syuusuke Saito plays Nitta before the transformation. He’s Kyoryu Black from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, if you watch Japanese sentai shows (think Power Rangers). Once he transforms, he becomes Kota Ibushi, current New Japan Pro Wrestling star who started his career in the DDT promotion, or Dramatic Dream Team. If you like just plain strange things to happen in your pro wrestling, I’d advise you to check them out. For example, Ibushi once had a series of matches with Yoshihiko, an inflatable doll.

The movie begins as the SpiritSpots.com team visits Specter Pass, where eyewitnesses have reported strange lights. After urinating on a special idol, Professor Nindo Izumi appears to warn them of the danger that this area of Japan presents. They don’t listen and are all killed one by one, just like a slasher movie.

The next day, Nitta and Professor Saigo’s daughter Miwa discover the Juganda, a prehistoric flower that’s based on the Juran from Ultra Q and an egg that contains the key to Setupp X Cells, which Saigo believes are the key to jump-starting the next stage of human evolution.

Meanwhile, at Mount Myojin, the kaiju Mono emerges before a crowd of soldiers and monster rights protestors, who it promptly devours. That’s when Saigo uses Nitta’s love for his daughter to convince him to take the Steupp X Cells and put on a pair of magical briefs that change size as he grows. After nearly three minutes of pro wrestling mayhem, Mono retreats and Nitta retains his sexy new body.

Nitta becomes a big celebrity called “The Great Giant” and is chased by a mysterious girl named Lisa who only wants his magical size-changing underwear. Miwa grows depressed and Mono grows stronger thanks to a second egg and her newfound poison fog power. Luckily, Saigo has even better Setupp X Cells and Izumi has trained Nitta to even be able to stop the flow of waterfalls.

However, even Lisa coming back to the good side and Miwa getting back Nitta’s special briefs isn’t enough. Saigo must inject Nitta with evil cells that transform him into Japanese legend Minoru Suzuki, the most intimidating pro wrestler perhaps ever. He basically annihilates the monster, who it turns out is really an old woman.

Ibushi isn’t alone in having matches with strange opponents. Suzuki has had a several years-long feud with Mecha Mummy. One of their matches involved an extended sequence where they became friends and went fishing before hatred overcame their truce. The strange thing is, Suzuki was the co-founder of Pancrase, one of the first MMA groups in the world. Despite most of their matches not always being 100% real, he has the reputation of being one of the best fighters in all of Japan. He was also the motion actor for King in the video game Tekken.

Your sense of humor may vary, as this is very much in the vein of the Airplanemovies, but all about Japanese monster movies, to the point that even scenes from Frankenstein Conquers the World get referenced. It also helps to know a little about Japanese pro wrestling, as Professor Saigo is so out of touch he only knows Giant Baba’s moves, which aren’t as dangerous as the modern powerbombs and top rope — err, top of the building — Phoenix Splashes that Nitta uses on Mono.

My subtitles and the English track on this film were absolutely different, which was kind of great, as they each added their own unique commentary to this completely out there movie. There’s even a scene that shows that training to battle a giant monster is just like getting ready for a boxing match like Rocky! Even the original Ultraman star Sandayu Dokumamushi shows up at the end to save the day!

There’s actually precedent for this movie, believe it or not. In 2004, The Calamari Wrestler featured Osamu Nishimura as a pro wrestler who becomes a giant squid and does battle with wrestlers Akira Nogami.

You can buy this from Sentai Filmworks.

Sadako vs. Kayako (2016)

You have to give it to Japanese filmmakers, who are unafraid to mash up franchises and give people what they want. And this was a big deal, combining the  Ju-on (The Grudge for Americans) and the Ring franchises.

The promotion for this movie was insane, with a Twitter contest between Sadako or Kayako to pick Japan’s favorite horror icon, with Sadako winning. Then, there was a press conference where Sadako, Kayako and Toshio attended and never broken character, which is awesome. This was followed by the characters interrupting a baseball game between the Nippon-Ham Fighters and the Yakult Swallows.

I mean, there was even a collaboration with Sanrio’s Hello Kitty for this film. That’s saying something.

The craziness starts when a social worker comes to do a wellness check on an elderly patient, who of course has a VCR that is still playing the infamous tape from Ringu. As if to answer, “Who still needs a VCR in 2016?” the player is sold to a shop, where it ends up in the hands of college kids Yuri Kurahashi and Natsumi Ueno, who want to use it to transfer Natsumi’s parents’ wedding tape to DVD.

However, the cursed tape has now evolved, with better-looking footage, an urban building instead of the traditional well and now, only two days for the curse. As the phone rings, Sadako shows up.

The girls go to their professor, an expert on urban legends, who instead of helping them wants to see Sadako for himself. He watches the tape and brings in an exorcist, who is boiled alive by. the vengeful ghost, who also murders the teacher. Before the exorcist dies, she tells the girls that only the psychic Keizo Tokiwa can save them.

Natsumi blames Yuri for her curse and begins to upload the tape to the internet, hoping to somehow pass the curse away from herself. Keizo soon arrives, accompanied by the blind psychic Tamao, and informs them only by pitting Sadako against Kayako Saeki can they all survive. Meanwhile, Natsumi, who has been trying to kill herself, is hung by Sadako.

Meanwhile, the haunted Saeki house has shown up in a new neighborhood and Toshio has been snapping the necks of bullies and dads.

As for that whole put the ghosts against each other plan goes, it backfires not once but twice, as the vengeful ghosts combine to create one unstoppable entity called Sadakaya. It has the body of Yuri, the appearance of Sadako and moves like both spirits, all with the death rattle of Kayako.

While not anywhere nearly as good as the original franchises by themselves, this is pretty much big budget fan service. It takes a long time to get there, but I had a ton of fun watching it. Not bad for a movie that started off as an April Fool’s Day joke, huh?

Still, nothing in this is quite as good as this theater etiquette video, right?

You can watch this on Shudder.

Frankenstein Created Bikers (2016)

The sequel to Dear God No takes the insanity of that film and goes beyond the limit to create a movie that pretty much takes every taboo and shoves it in your face to smell and taste it. It’s not for everyone — neither was the first film — but it’s an absolute thrill for those who are ready for it.

Jett has been resurrected from beyond the grave, but is now addicted to the substance that brought him and his gang back. Now, they’re forced to capture cryptids and be the errand boys for the Nazi scientists that hold the keys to keeping them all alive. Now, with every gang in the world — including Val, a one-eyed mankiller played by Tristan Risk — after him, as well as bounty hunters, a chainsaw-wielding priest, rival gangs and topless masked exotic dancers — nobody is getting out alive.

This goes a bit too long at 2 hours and 5 minutes, but that’s really my only complaint. There’s something here to excite and offend everyone, sometimes at the same time. And hey — Darcy the Mail Girl dances on stage at one point.

There’s enough in here for about ten movies, so if they ever make a third one, I have no idea what’s next. I enjoyed the journey that all of the gang took on this one, but this definitely feels like the end. Then again, they all got killed last time, too, as must happen in all good biker movies. No matter what happens, if there is a sequel, I’ll definitely be there for it. Probably drinking beer the whole time again, too.

After all, the world needs more perverted biker movies filled with drugs, mutilation, nudity, sex, gore, Bigfoot and one-eyed murder machines, right?