Aussie Stud

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Reviews

Dang wo men tong zai yi qi
(2006)

Bloody AWFUL!
This was hands down one of the WORST films (Gay, Straight, Asian, Western, WHATEVER, WHEREVER!!!!) I have ever seen in my ENTIRE life.

Recently I have gotten into gay Asian cinema, watching outstanding films such as "Fleeing By Night" and light comedies such as "Cut Sleeve Boys". Then Netflix recommended this garbage and the premise sounded cute so I decided to go ahead and rent it.

Be warned folks, this movie is downright pathetic. The movie is so low budget it looks like it was filmed with a digital camera, the actors appear as if they were rounded up while waiting outside a gay bar, the script was blatantly ripped off from "Miss Congeniality" and given an Asian spin and the dialog and script is so abysmal, Uwe Boll comes off as a cinematic genius.

The plot (if you could call it that) centers around two best friends A-Hong and A-Shing, one is supposedly straight and the other is a flaming queen. A "pop idol"-like contest arises for gay men and the prize is 10 million dollars. The straight dude has a selfish girlfriend who blew all of his money on shopping debts and he figures he can enter the contest posing as a gay dude.

Enter basically every single plot line from "Miss Congeniality", psycho targeting the competition with a bomb, over-the-top camp emcee (what, William Shatner wasn't available for this either?), an array of colorful and outrageous pageant entrants, an undercover "swat team officer" joining the ranks... this movie was so offensive on every level to my remaining brain cells that I wanted to throw my DVD player out the window.

Not to mention that they kept re-running the same awful song over the soundtrack, again and again and again. Some no-talent guy singing with a guitar - I didn't even know what he was singing and yet I just wanted him to stop. At this point, my friend (who also got suckered into watching this trash) and I were laughing with embarrassment at nearly every aspect of this movie, we pretty much stopped following whatever plot there was - not that this film required any kind of deep attention.

By the time the credits roll and all of the main cast members are doing a montage of goofing off, singing and playing instruments - you'll be cracking ribs with embarrassment over how lame this movie is. I don't believe I have ever seen a movie this rotten from ANYWHERE in a long time.

So beware viewers, if you want a semi-decent gay Taiwanese film to watch - try "Eternal Summer" or "Formula 17". This movie was so beyond pathetic, I am trying my hardest to warn EVERYONE not to see it - I wouldn't even recommend this trash to my WORST ENEMY.

The Hand
(1981)

"Get back, you silly cow!!!"
Michael Caine is absolutely embarrassing in this 1981 bore-fest that tries too hard to pass itself off as legitimate "horror" but comes off as any other number of his misfire films from the 70's and 80's that can be found in a cut-out bin at your local non-chain video store (or nowhere at all).

There are only a few moments of unintentional humor, such as the "paper crumpling" sounds that can be heard whenever "the hand" goes for a walk, or the complete inability to act by Andrea Marcovicci who plays his wife. Every scene Marcovicci is in reeks of "D-Grade acting". In fact, I swear half the time she isn't even trying, like she's hamming it up on stage for some ridiculous off-Broadway production that no one bothered to see.

Most people who visit this page must already know what "THE HAND" is about. Basically Caine is a comic illustrator/writer who loses his hand in an accident after he sticks it out of a car window while his wife fails to pay attention to the truck in front of them. This was probably the "goriest" scene which involves red blood spraying out of a bloody stump. Don't hold your breath, there aren't any other gory scenes following this one.

So Caine revisits the accident site trying to find his missing hand and of course, it's gone. Meanwhile, we have a "hand-cam" following a gray hand walking around country-sides and hitching rides(!!), choking people to death, mostly those who have either wronged Caine or upset him. So by now, this would make a great movie to watch while either stoned or in the mood for a comedy, but it provides no entertainment to either party.

Most of the actors/characters in this movie are so grating, unsympathetic and obnoxious, you pray that "the hand" is going to get them fast, especially the wife. The "ending" should not have continued to the scene with the psychiatrist as I thought it was nicely wrapped up the way it was first explained. But then again, all lousy horror movies need to end with a scene that leave them open for sequelitis should they become financially successful ("BASKET CASE", here's looking at you!).

Caine acts to a level that is unnecessary for the dreck that he is starring in. I've always felt that Caine is a very good actor (it's not common to see Caine deliver a bad acting performance) yet has starred in so many horrible and forgettable movies that it's quite amazing how broad his resume stretches. "THE HAND" is up there with "THE ISLAND", "THE JIGSAW MAN", "ASHANTI" and "PEEPER" as some of the worst movies he's ever starred in.

This movie isn't even worth it for a good laugh or two. You'll only get one, and that's when Caine yells "Get back, you silly cow!!!" to the female driver that causes his accident. Trust me, that's not a good thing either!

Der heiße Tod
(1969)

Exploitative trash yawn fest.
"99 Women" starring Oscar-winner Mercedes McCambridge as a sadistic prison warden and Maria Schell as a super-intendant with lesbionic tendencies towards one of the female inmates, who'd have thought that you could have gone wrong with this one? Apparently not me as I was quite excited about my purchase of this movie. It was pretty horrible as expected, but not in a good way. I was hoping this was going to be one of those hilarious women-in-prison exploitation flicks that were high in camp value. Hell, Mercedes McCambridge is in it! First off, the movie started off positively. We have three broads arriving on a boat, still in the clothes they were apparently arrested in, tried in Court, and then literally, sent up the river in! We are introduced to the blonde starlet, Marie, the black-haired stripper, Helga, and some other brunette who dies from some sort of "accident" that required medical surgery.

The camp factor needle hits "HIGH" as soon as we are introduced to Mercedes McCambridge appearing in a warden's uniform, barking orders in a faux-German accent (even though her name is Thelma Diaz) and giving Marie a backhand across the face for using her name instead of her number, "99".

However it only gets worse from here. While there are certainly some entertaining cat-fight scenes (ie hair-pulling, clothes being ripped off, face slapping, etc), the rest of the film is incredibly boring. There is a sadistic male warden (Herbert Lom) who coerces one of the female prisoners into seducing Marie for his pleasure, and there is one un-named prison guard who has the most hilarious facial expressions when introducing guests to McCambridge, but the rest of the film falls flat.

Maria Schell is not in the film nearly enough, and when she is, it's hard to determine what her true agenda is. It seems like she has a thing for Marie, but they never explore it.

When the girls finally break out and trek through a "jungle", there are a few more camp moments, such as the scene with the harmless snake where upon spotting it and instead of running around it, the girls proceed to scream, grab it and cut it with a knife (LOL). The other semi-amusing moment was watching Marie and Helga make a dash for the fishing boats, hand-in-hand and wearing nothing short of see-through panties and torn jumpsuits.

Mercedes McCambridge was the movie's only saving grace. Her accent border-lined German and Spanish, and she had some pretty hilarious one-liners such as, "She was put in the punishment cell... for repeated insolences!" At various moments, her voice deepened into that same voice she used as Pazuzu in "The Exorcist", I thought maybe she was going to morph into Satan at any moment.

The most interesting thing that I heard about this movie was that there is an X-rated version out there. I watched the un-rated version which had no explicit sex scenes, only some gratuitous breast shots and a glimpse of bush. I shudder at the thought that Mercedes McCambridge might have filmed a scene not knowing that at some later point her body double would be enjoying an explicit lesbian sex scene with one of the female prisoners.

I would not recommend this movie to any women-in-prison enthusiasts out there. In fact, I would only recommend this movie to Mercedes McCambridge fans as she is the sole reason I gave this movie "one star". Don't waste your time with this one folks.

Once Is Not Enough
(1975)

Camp trash mini-classic!
If you happen to catch this movie, it could easily be mistaken for the pilot episode of an 80's prime-time soap. How the producers thought that anyone would seriously pay good money to watch this midday made-for-TV movie at the theater is incredibly hilarious.

Kirk Douglas surprisingly headlines this incestuous melodrama where his daughter January (Deborah Raffin) harbors some sort of daddy-complex since the day she was born. I would have loved to have sat through a theater screening of this and observed the faces of the audience around me. I don't know if I would have seen smirks or looks of discomfort, like someone shouldn't have eaten those bad tacos for lunch.

The movie is very outdated. It's lifted right from a Jacqueline Susann novel (or basically take your pick from any Harlequin read) and plays out just like it on the small screen. Most of the close-ups are shot through a filter, the soundtrack is hijacked by Henry Mancini's orchestrated strings, and all the actresses parade themselves with such high camp you'll find it hard not to fall in love with this atrocity.

Most hilarious is January's attraction to David Janssen's character. Talk about taking the daddy-complex to the next level! Brenda Vaccaro who received an Oscar nomination(!!!) for her portrayal of a man-hungry sex-starved magazine editor is absolutely stunning. She delivered plain awful dialog with perfect snap, "He laid me, and then he fired me!" and also managing to keep a straight face at the same time, she definitely deserved the nomination.

The best line comes out of the mouth of Douglas' long-suffering housekeeper, Mabel (Lillian Randolph), "For twelve years, it's just been a parade of poon-tang!", as she boards the bus to Santa Monica.

Throw in a closeted lesbian millionaire engaging in a secret relationship with a reclusive Hispanic actress (where else could you view an interracial middle-aged lesbian sex scene!!), gratuitous shots of Gary Conway (portraying an astronaut LOL!) running in short shorts on a beach and Deborah Raffin staring blankly into the camera as if she were doped on percosets, and you have the ultimate camp classic of 1975.

There was a scene with Raffin's character walking blankly across the road (nearly getting run over by a taxi) after she is devastated by Janssen's character, and yet I still could not determine any difference in her acting from that scene to the entire film.

Vaccaro is definitely the one thing that holds this movie together, although her character isn't necessary to the story. She seemed to express more personality than all of the other characters combined that it was a joy to watch her self-diagnosing, "Sleeping with men makes me feel better!" It made me feel better too.

Men's Mix 1: Gay Shorts Collection
(2004)

Sub-par collection of seven short films with gay themes.
This collection of short gay films was half entertaining. The first few films were cute, one was actually very good. The remaining films were borderline terrible including one that absolutely stank.

The first story is "Burls", a cute tale narrated by Mark Hammill about a young pre-teen boy (who eerily resembles a young Jodie Foster) growing up in the 1960's, his eyes opening up after seeing a group of drag queens walking down the street, or "boys dressed up as girls" (hence the title "Burls"). We then follow his identity awakening as he tries on his mother's clothes and make-up, fantasizes about the hot young male working at the pet store and a run-in with what appears to be two revolting pedophiles (one in a gym locker room, the other in a car). This short was actually cute save for the rather abrupt ending.

The second story is "Touched" which is the best short film in the collection. It is about a middle-aged male who picks up a younger male in a night club, only to discover that the younger male has a different agenda. There are a lot of emotions in this one short, particularly concerning the middle-aged male. His agenda is to just "touch" someone out of loneliness, to be with someone, if only for an encounter. What happens when the two men reach out to each other is very powerful.

The third story is "10 Pesos" which really isn't "gay" at all (except for one scene involving an old man and a john). It's basically a short film that follows the path of a peso bill that travels through different hands and situations, starting in a night club and ending up in the street. The ending is actually quite stupid and I'm not even sure what the director was aiming for with all the money blowing around in the air.

The fourth story is "Safe Journey", and this is where the collection starts to go downhill. It is about a young man who gets beaten up on the street and seeks refuge in the home of a blind Asian man. The Asian man is seen at the beginning praying and reading braille, when by chance the young man who shows up in his house has some sort of connection to his prayers. There is supposed to be some sort of spiritual (though non-sexual) connection between the two via Buddhism or some Chinese God, but it's actually quite laughable really.

The fifth story is "Shaving The Castro", a rather boring documentary short on a barbershop that was established in San Francisco's Castro district in the 1940's with a clientèle of children and families, and how time has changed since then as the community is now predominantly gay.

The sixth story is "Gaydar", an absolutely horrid abomination concocted by someone who obviously never got past Judy Garland and every other gay stereotype known to man. For those of you not in the know, "Gaydar" is a term often referred to in the gay community as a gift to detect those who are gay and those who are not. The short itself is about a completely obnoxious gay office worker who discovers a "Gaydar gun" at a yard sale run by none other than Jim J. Bullock (in yet another grating and poorly-acted performance), who decides to take the gun to work and use it on a co-worker of whom he has the hots for.

Unfortunately, this short just wasn't funny. Not only did the stereotypes get old REAL fast, but the characters were obnoxious, unsympathetic and screechingly vile, particularly the main character. And if that wasn't bad enough, Charles Nelson Reilly showing up in a completely embarrassing cameo as the main character's uncle was the absolute worst. What, wasn't Rip Taylor available? All the gay men are portrayed as big screaming queens, and the African-American co-worker had her sass down pat, right down to the "Mmmmmm-hmmmm!" and "Oh no you dz'int!". This short should have been scrapped as it brings down the entire collection. It is neither funny nor witty.

The seventh and final short is "Masturbation", a tongue-in-cheek satire on 1940's sexual health info-reels on masturbation techniques, including how-to tips on home-made devices carved out of cucumbers and sponges (let your imagination fill you in). The acting although intentionally cheesy mirrors that of a bad porno, and the short itself isn't all that funny either.

So basically the first two shorts are worth watching, but the rest are pretty bad. I'm not sure if this is worth the rental fee, but there's worse things to do on a night when there's nothing else to do.

Vampyres
(1974)

Lesbian porn horror-lite.
When I rented this movie, the synopsis on the back of the DVD read: In this controversial cult classic (also known as Daughters of Dracula), two beautiful bisexual women -- played by Marianne Morris and Anulka -- roam the English countryside, luring unsuspecting men to their estate for orgies of sex and blood. When an innocent young couple stumbles into the vampyres' dangerous lair, they find themselves sucked into a vortex of savage lust and forbidden desires. A landmark of erotic cinema.

Okay, after watching this garbage, I could point out a zillion things wrong with that synopsis.

"Controversial" is a bit of a lark. Let's see, what we have basically are two lasses clamoring all over each other in hilarious "love scenes" while going on blood-lust sprees. It's like the lesbian version of "SUPERNATURAL BORN KILLERS", but without most of the explicit violence. These two women are the most unconvincing lesbian couple I've seen on screen since Ellen and Anne. The dominant partner, "Fran" is one of the most unconvincing actresses I have ever seen on screen. Not only is she bad at delivering dialog, but even in scenes that don't even require dialog she manages to put on the worst show that is worthy of a Razzie. Too bad they didn't exist back then.

For example, whenever "Fran" engages in any sort of sexual foreplay such as kissing, she makes these weird sucking motions with her mouth as if she were a fish out of water gasping for air. The intimacy shared between the two women comes off as laughable. Whenever they have a go at each other's bodies, "Fran" does this weird thing that resembles a ferret sniffing around for something to play with. Now picture her doing that while making those funny sucking motions with her mouth, and you have an unintentional comedy. "Erotic cinema" I think not.

The "innocent young couple" are two vacationing yuppies (one being a typical male slouch, and the other being a typical nosy broad) who park their trailer in front of an old mansion. And that's about it. The nosy woman pokes around in the mansion a few times, but that's about it. There is one steamy sex scene (if you could call it that) and this couple prove to be one of the most boring couples right there behind Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles.

So basically what we have is "Fran" and her playmate, "Miriam" flagging down men in their cars (although they come off more like hookers at work than damsels in distress), have them drive to their mansion where they get drunk on wine, and then stabbed to death.

Yes, you heard right. For a movie titled "Vampyres", there is very little, if anything, to do with anything of vampire lore. These two ladies don't even have fangs - they just murder their victims and then "drink" their blood, if you call two women hesitantly lapping at Karo Syrup running down someone's arm with their tongue, "drinking blood". In fact, these women have no problem running around in broad daylight, they don't turn into bats, and they're not allergic to garlic, well for all we know right? As for the dialog itself, that's in an entire league of its own.

Male victim: "You're not from around here are you? Might I ask where you're from?"

Fran: "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." ;

or how about:

Male victim: "Are there limits to the questions I can ask?"

Fran: "No, but there are limits to the answers."

And then there's all these ridiculous sub-plots running throughout this cinematic bore-fest that make no sense at all. Why do they short-cut through the graveyard all the time? Why would a pair of vacationers choose a dumpy-looking mansion to park their trailer outside? Why do the women need to drink blood? What was with the whole "ghost" sub-plot and why did the two women get shot to death in the beginning? But most of all, why did I watch all of this trash?

For horror aficionados, there is absolutely no horror in this movie at all. There is no "mystery" element as you get to see everything happen as it takes place. The "murder scenes" are sometimes downright hilarious, like when some poor sod thinks he's about to get in on a hot bi-sexual threesome and instead gets stabbed via "camera cut-away" action.

For porn aficionados, most of the sex scenes are R-rated (if even that), and the most exposure you will see are gratuitous breast shots and some pubic hair. Not even the men drop trou for the camera! This is actually one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I think it had one of the most deceitful synopses ever featured on the back of a movie, and the acting is incredibly bad. Just watch the woman who plays "Fran". She delivers every line with a ridiculous half-smirk/half-look of being coy. And the woman who plays her lover pretty much exists only to wind up in some ridiculous phony lesbian love scene.

Steer clear of this one folks, it's not worth the time or the rental fee!

Le notti del terrore
(1981)

Hilarious zombie trash!
How can you not love this? From the atrociously bad dubbing of side-splittingly hilarious dialog to the so-fake-it's-funny "gore scenes", this movie has it all.

The laughter pretty much begins with the opening scenes where some old geezer makes some comparisons between a book of doodles and an artifact while declaring, "It's incredible!" Then he proceeds to tap away at some rock with a pick-axe while zombies surprise him from behind and munch on his shoulders (LOL!).

Cut to the following day where our zombie food arrives in three cars, two horny couples and an even more horny couple with Maggie Smith as their "son". The dialog is camp trash classic. The mother refers to her husband as "Darling!", and the sexual innuendo is heavily laden with cheesy eroticism as only imported movies like this trash can deliver.

In one "sex scene", one of the ladies is wearing a see-through lace bikini. One of the other ladies is wearing what appears to be a corset. And who can forget the hilarious scene where the son stumbles upon his mother engaging in a bit of slap and tickle with his father. What does she do when they get caught in the act? Does she pull the bedsheets up to her chin out of embarrassment? Not this mother. Instead, she jumps out of the bed fully naked and runs to the middle of the room to cover herself with a piece of clothing lying on the floor. Timeless! However, the laughter doesn't really begin until the zombies appear. The make-up is so bad, there is no room for "horror", only comedy. In some scenes, you can see the flesh-tone pink of the actors playing the zombies when the camera focuses on their hands. Other times you can see their eyes behind the "eye holes" of the zombie masks, which looked no less terrifying than a woman giving herself a mud facial.

The better "gore scenes" as usual in these types of movies involve the female gender. One woman gets her head sliced off with a scythe before having the rest of her body fed to a hungry pack of zombies. Another woman gets her face pulled into a broken window and her eyeball "pierced" by a shard of glass-ala-Lucio Fulci's "Zombie". Another woman gets her nipple bitten off by her newly zombified child. All of them get their internal organs pulled out and chewed on by hungry zombies.

The men get it just as bad. One gets his throat torn out. Another gets attacked by a roomful of praying zombie monks who tear him apart on an altar leaving literally nothing left but the soles on his feet! There really is no logic to the plot. Why the idiots didn't just leave the estate is beyond me. Why was there a bear trap on the lawn? Why was one zombie buried inside a planter? Why did the lights on the chandelier explode? Why was I watching this movie?

Let's be honest. We all tuned in to see the infamous scene involving a nipple, a hungry child and love that only a mother could give! Anyone else who claims otherwise would be lying.

However, the Dave Brubeck-inspired soundtrack was very lovely to listen to.

Logan's Run
(1976)

Time hasn't been kind to this "futuristic" society.
"LOGAN'S RUN" is by all means, a great concept. The idea of a futuristic Utopian society where life ends at the age of 30, only to be renewed again sounds pretty neat. The story/idea is excellent.

Michael York and Jenny Agutter play the leads in perfect straight-to-video fashion (as can only be expected). Richard Jordan as an assassin to take out "runners" (ie. people who turn 30 and decide to run for their lives) adds a nice blend of evil. Farrah Fawcett turns up in a tiny role as what else, a plastic surgeon's ditzy blonde assistant! The acting is sub-par save for Sir Peter Ustinov, who could fascinate me just by reading from the phone book, adds heart and comic as an old man born and raised in the "outside world".

Now as for the special effects. Well, maybe back in 1976, audiences might have thought people walking around in togas and leotards with seventies hairstyles could have passed for a society living in the 23rd Century... but these days, it just looks funny. Actually, most of the ideas for special effects in this movie are not just outdated, but they actually look REALLY outdated.

The exterior shots of the city look like a 70's architectural display model of a cheesy golf club. Most of the furniture look like it came directly out of a K-Tel infomercial. The interior shots of the "Arcade" look like something that could be found in any 70's shopping mall, from the twin escalators to the box-container elephant-ear plants. And how about the "Carousel"? Well, it's supposed to be some sort of an arena where the same extras sit down and do that power thing by pumping their fists in the air, cheering and clapping while a group of people who have just turned 30 get lifted off the ground via pull-strings and float towards a funky-looking chandelier as they explode in a shower of sparks and flames.

Spears with glow-sticks on the ends. A talking computer with lettering font long outdated since the late 70's. Fawcett wearing a sequined green Peter Pan outfit. York's face appearing in holographic mirrors shouting dialogue in slow motion! What more could one ask for! It gets even funnier. When York and Agutter encounter "Box", an evil robot that looks like a big upright vacuum cleaner with clothes dryer exhaust pipe arms and Christmas tree lights on its body, you won't be able to stop yourself from laughing uncontrollably. My sides were still hurting after watching "Box" chase the two characters while flailing its arms around in the air brandishing what looks to be a pilot lighter! The only really good scenes were the shots of Washington D.C. covered with creepers and vines. An apocalyptic vision of a world fallen by the stupidity of man (as always).

The action scenes were actually alright. Watching two people on the run can always be fun, no matter what the setting. But watching them dodge exploding squibs that look like chintzy fire crackers as they get "fired upon" by angry Sandmen was pretty funny. The funniest scene was seeing Fawcett getting "blown away" by a cloud of smoke as a wall gets broken into. And who could forget the hilarious scene in the plastic surgeon's office where the machine goes bonkers causing someone to die from thin red lines of paint.

All in all, "LOGAN'S RUN" is a fun movie to watch. The story is captivating. You don't need to care about the acting - all the producers did was cast a bunch of people with pretty faces and not much acting range. One can always count on Michael York for various occasions of over-acting in scenes that don't require it. But watch for the special effects. They haven't held well over time, which now make them prime and ideal targets for jokes and laughter. And of course, stay for the late Sir Peter Ustinov, who is always a delight to watch in almost anything.

My Rating - 7 out of 10

200 American
(2003)

Probably the WORST gay movie I have ever seen!
I saw this advertised on Netflix in the "Gay and Lesbian" section and the synopsis sounded cute, so I thought to myself that it wouldn't hurt to give this movie a shot.

Wrong. From the beginning of the movie, we have one of the most unique plot lines ever to be featured in a gay movie... a hot sad gay guy has just been dumped by his boyfriend and looks for love in all the wrong places, starting with the escort section in the back of a gay rag! How unique! Not to mention the escort who shows up happens to be a good looking Australian guy stuck in a financial rut (who has the strangest bones and muscles ever seen in a torso). Needless to say, the escort is only interested in business, but the hot sad gay guy falls for him and helps him out by giving him a high-profile job at his business firm! Then it gets even more original from here. The escort falls in love with his business partner and here begins a complicated gay love triangle.

What is with this rut lately of gay films that continually explore the sad and lonely single lives of very attractive gay men who are financially successful and situated that pairs them up with a very attractive "come from the wrong side of the tracks" guy in relationships that go awry? The only difference with this movie is that it was poorly acted and heavily laden with a continual line of gay clichés that as a gay viewer myself, I was embarrassed just watching it! This movie was so amateurish, it could only be adored by a pretentious small-town gay and lesbian film festival wedged between various film shorts and a documentary on gay life in Anytown, America. What a load of garbage and a waste of my time! I couldn't identify with anything or anyone in this so-called "movie".

It was neither charming nor witty. The plot was trite, the characters were shallow, the story writing was lazy and the whole idea was predictable from the start. If very attractive gay men can't seem to get it together in the real world, then I guess the average Joe such as myself doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell either!

Gay or straight, this movie was trash. Watch "Chuck and Buck" instead.

My Rating - 0 out of 10

Star Crystal
(1986)

I can't believe I remember this trash!
I remember seeing this on video many years ago in the mid to late 80's. There were some key scenes that stood out in my mind:

  • Space explorers discover a rock on a planet. The rock has a crystal in it that unleashes a deadly alien.


  • The alien starts to kill everyone on board the space craft/space station.


  • People who encounter the alien or its gooey trail comment on a "lemon"-like scent.


  • A black man gets killed by the alien.


  • One woman tries to get away from the creature by crawling through a tube-like tunnel.


  • The alien leaves its victims encased in a gooey substance.


  • The alien is playing chess with the surviving male character.


Yes, you heard me right. The alien is playing some sort of board game with the survivors! I couldn't believe my memory either. For the longest time (15 years and counting), I always thought I had two movies mixed up in my mind, confusing them as one.

Nope, it's all in the one flick. As stated by others above, this creature becomes good at the end (even after killing all the other people on board the space craft), and everyone goes home a happy camper, I kid you not.

This outrageously bad movie ("STAR CRYSTAL") has to be seen to be believed!

Inferno
(1980)

Not one of Dario's best... but watch strictly for Ms Alida Valli!
"INFERNO" is "sort of" (and I emphasize "sort of") a sequel to "SUSPIRIA". Many have stated that this movie is in fact the second film of an unfinished trilogy involving a coven of witches. There are supposedly three covens, one in Germany, Rome and New York. "SUSPIRIA" covered the one in Germany, and "INFERNO" covers the one in New York.

Like "SUSPIRIA", Argento uses a lot of the same elements used in that film, the soft neon blues and pinks, blowing curtains, girls running down long empty hallways, etc. In fact, "INFERNO" almost seems like a direct continuation of "SUSPIRIA", save for the fact that Jessica Harper (the heroine in "SUSPIRIA") has nothing to do with this film.

While most people complain about the bad acting, there was one actress in particular who shone in "INFERNO". No, I am not talking about the heroines, I am talking about Ms. Alida Valli who played the sadistic dance instructor Miss Tanner in "SUSPIRIA" (all that was missing was her riding crop!). As many know, Argento loves reusing many of the same actors in his films (Daria Nicolodi being another), and this time, he casts Ms Valli as the caretaker of the mysterious building who may or may not be a part of the coven. Here, Ms Valli sports a ridiculous perm and a house frau uniform and gives one of the best camp performances in Argento's films when she offers the hero of the film a glass of "heart medicine"!

While it was a guilty pleasure seeing Ms Valli again, I think Argento made a big mistake casting her in the supposed "second film of a trilogy" when she was already in the first film, and died in the climax with Ms Joan Bennett when the coven burnt down! If audiences recognize her again, they might make the mistake of thinking that she is in fact playing the same character again from "SUSPIRIA".

I'm certain she is playing two separate characters. The first one being of course, a member of the coven. The second one, maybe a hench-woman for the coven, but not an actual witch. In fact, in "INFERNO" her ties with the coven are never even confirmed. She practically plays a sleazy caretaker who, with the sleazy butler, attempt to pilfer jewels from a just-deceased resident (to which she refers to as "rich bastards!") and gets it after a burning curtain falls on top of her.

Anyway, as for the other inconsistencies... there is a girl with a cat who mutters something inaudibly to a guy wearing headphones. I held out hoping that by the end of the film, Argento would tell us what she was trying to say. Nope. Doesn't happen. How about the underwater scene involving a flooded room and a floating corpse? No... again, there is no reason given for why the floor was flooded, or why there is a dead body floating around.

These scenes seemed pivotal at the time, but by the end of the movie, made no sense whatsoever. Was I the only person hoping that Rose would further explore the room, and see what was behind that door? Talk about a wasted opportunity.

However, the death scenes, although now outdated, are a lot of fun. One guy gets it through the neck with a knife. In this movie, this guy in particular played "Carlo". He was also a "Carlo" in Argento's "PROFONDO ROSSO aka DEEP RED", where he played a transvestite with a psychotic mother. I guess Argento didn't stray too far imagination-wise when it came to deciding what names to give out to his characters.

One character meets his doom in Central Park involving 2-inch deep water and a few harmless-looking rats that "attack" him after he loses his crutches. It's even more humorous after he gets his neck chopped with a cleaver by a "hit and run" hot dog vendor, and the rats just sit on top of him doing nothing.

In fact, strangulation, decapitation, etc is the fetish in this movie. Many of Argento's characters meet their doom in this fashion. One old guy nearly chokes to death on his audio equipment, another girl gets it after she gets her head caught on a bed of nails under a pane of broken glass, Marie Antoinette-style!

There aren't too many "scary" moments in "INFERNO", unless you're terrified of "cat like" eyes appearing in the darkness, or a witch clothed in what looks like a Halloween costume with a skeleton on it (LOL!).

Watch for the signature camera work and visuals, and stay for the timeless performance given by Ms Alida Valli!

My rating - 6 out of 10

A Dirty Shame
(2004)

Trash.
For fans of John Waters' films, "A DIRTY SHAME" will be a dream come true.

I saw this at the Provincetown premiere last night where John Waters was there in person giving a Q&A after the film had finished.

Tracy Ullman plays a sexually conservative and uptight suburban housewife who works with her husband (Chris Isaak) at his mother's convenience store. Their daughter (Selma Blair) has huge mummies (and I emphasize "HUGE") who works at a strip joint but has been sentenced to house arrest after being indicted on several accounts of "public indecent exposure".

Her husband's mother, Big Ethel (Suzanne Shepherd) is against all kinds of sexual perversions and is consistently disgusted by the shameless vulgar acts of sex committed by the residents of her community. Those who are against these acts are labeled "neuters", and once and for all, Big Ethel decides to lead an uprising against all of the deviants in her community, with a little help from Marge (Mink Stole) who noticed the "shaved" crotch of a pervert whom she caught masturbating on the public bus!

Soon enough, Ullman is sexually liberated by Ray-Ray (Johnny Knoxville) after her car breaks down and she is struck against the head by a tool in the back of his tow truck. Her concussion causes her to discover her "inner whore" and she begins a new mission to sexually liberate those around her, by using none other than her vagina!

Many of John Waters' fans will recognize many actors he has used in his past films. Patricia Hearst ("SERIAL MOM", "PECKER", "CECIL B DEMENTED" as a recovering "sex addict" in a 12-step program, Jean Schertler ("PECKER") as a disgusted bus commuter and Jean Hill ("DESPERATE LIVING") as an angry wife who fends off Ullman's sexual advances towards her equally horny husband with a rolling pin in hand!

"A DIRTY SHAME" is funnier than "PECKER" and the abysmal "CECIL B DEMENTED" and finally gives Mink Stole a role that offers more than just a "walk on". Unfortunately, John Waters has alienated himself from the mainstream audience (which is a good thing AND a bad thing) yet again. I feel that the only people who will admire and appreciate this film are either exclusive John Waters fans or gay men!

Some interesting points that John Waters raised during the Q&A session was how he fought the MPAA for an "R" rating but lost in a 7-4 vote. He also seemed to be mystified by the "NC-17" rating and tried to defend it by saying that most of the nudity was in the context of "comedy" and not "porn", but I would say after seeing this movie that that is hardly the issue! There is a very STRONG theme of sex, especially where it concerns the more "alternative" side such as "defecating", "felching" and "public ejaculation"! Not that there's anything wrong with it!

Many of the things that are said are very sexually laden, like when Ullman declares, "Now that's what I call sneezing in the cabbage!" or, "My pu**y's on fire!".

He also mentioned that the community he filmed "A DIRTY SHAME" in was very friendly and that they all posed next to the trees with prosthetic vaginas and sphincters with their families for photos!

He said that Jean Hill was very ill during her small cameo in this film and that in her scene, there were three men behind her propping her up and that there was an oxygen tank and mask just off-screen.

Sitting in the screening right next to me was Max Mueller who played baby Noodles in "PINK FLAMINGOS".

This film has everything. From gay bears and horny squirrels, to food fetish and "upper deck" floaters (watch the movie to find out what this means), to a less-than-embarrassing cameo appearance by David Hasselhoff that involves him and an airplane toilet!

Everyone applauded when the film ended. It was John Waters' return to disgusting trash, and we all loved it! Unfortunately, I don't think ANYONE outside of the above-mentioned demographic would want to touch this film with a 10-yard pole, and that is what I meant in reference to where I think that the alienation of the mainstream audience was a bad thing. I think everyone should see this!

That's Incredible: The Reunion
(2002)

A fun reunion special.
This reunion special that brought together an hour of clips from the 1980-1984 television show, "THAT'S INCREDIBLE!" was seen by very few people when it aired at the very end of the ratings season on ABC in 2002, but surely opened up a floodgate of memories to those who were lucky enough to catch it.

Cathy Lee Crosby, Fran Tarkenton and John Davidson were drug out of obscurity and chronic unemployment to present this collection of memorable clips from the show's four seasons.

Inter-twined with archived footage, the three hosts dabble in lame bickering amongst each other, extremely embarrassing dialogue complete with laugh track and bizarre updates with people who were featured on the show back in its initial run, including some old guy with a keen eye and sharp aim for knife throwing.

But putting all that junk aside, it's the showcasing of clips that will interest most people who tuned in to watch this special.

They showed the guy who used to do all those bizarre stunts like playing a piano on downhill skis, teetering a chair on it's hind two legs on the ledge of a tall building overlooking the city of Paris, or enjoying a 'dining experience' mid-air with parachutes attached to himself and the table.

They showed a very young Tiger Woods putting a golf ball, and a rather demonic-sounding Alicia Witt reciting an entire Shakespeare excerpt at an extremely young age.

Who could forget Yogi Kudu who could fold his entire 6-foot tall body like a contortionist into a tiny box? Or how about Sylvia Brown who conducted a rather eerie seance in the middle of the night in a Wal*Mart attempting to make contact with a lost soul and coaxing him to go on through to the "other side".

But the clip that brought back many memories (and some tears) was the story of Leslie Lemke, the retarded boy who proved to be an idiot savant simply by hearing bars to pieces of music and being able to play the exact same piece on a piano. He was given up for adoption at birth, went blind from glaucoma, suffered from severe brain damage and yet was taken in by a kind old nurse and her husband who encouraged him to craft his special "gift" into a beautiful talent.

In the middle of the random "dog playing basketball/surfing" stories, to the "world's longest domino chain", "THAT'S INCREDIBLE!" also appreciated the inspiring and uplifting side of life by profiling lives like that of Leslie Lemke.

It's a shame that this show isn't on anymore. It was the precursor to stuff like "RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT", "REAL TV" and "GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS", but it didn't just focus on "gross out" stunts and mindless garbage like setting the record for how many nails one man may swallow. There would never be another show like it, and 20 years later, it looks like there never will be.

On the lighter side, a remarkable story that would make the perfect selection for an episode of "THAT'S INCREDIBLE!" would be how John Davidson's face has defied gravity to look older than Fran Tarkenton's... in a bad "face lift" sort of a way.

Overnight
(2003)

Like being caught in the middle of a very bad argument...
You know when you get yourself into one of those uncomfortable situations where several people are yelling at each other and you're stuck in the middle feeling awkward? That is what watching this documentary felt like.

This is a documentary seven years in the making that focuses on an arrogant, naive and very stupid bartender named Troy Duffy. Back in 1997, he literally "overnight" became the latest "rags to riches" success story in Hollywood where his script "THE BOONDOCK SAINTS" was bought by Harvey Weinstein (of Miramax Pictures) and was given the green-light to direct his own feature and provide music from his band for the soundtrack. Harvey was also considering co-owning a bar in West Hollywood with him, and it seemed like everything that Troy had worked hard for his entire life was finally coming to fruition.

Well not really. He could have had it all, but like most stupid people, he wasn't satisfied with what he was given and he demanded more.

Unlike Terry Gilliam's almost-comical "LOST IN LA MANCHA" which was plagued with natural disasters, bad scheduling, bad production and bad luck, Troy Duffy played his own hand in sending his dream project into assured failure.

For Duffy, his biggest enemy was himself. Although this documentary tries to make out Harvey Weinstein as some sort of Hollywood tyrant (which apparently isn't that far from the truth), Duffy was the one who ultimately destroyed his own career and that of his fellow band-mates who were too intimidated to stand up to him and tell him that he was going all about it the wrong way.

First of all, Duffy's biggest problem is his attitude. It's BAD. He's one of those people who not only THINKS AND KNOWS that he is RIGHT, but certainly doesn't hold back any feelings when it comes to telling other people that they are wrong (even if they're not).

Watching Duffy mingle with D-list celebrities like Paul Rubens, Patrick Swayze, Jerry O'Connell and Mark Wahlberg was nothing more than deliciously amusing, showing both sides of the industry kissing serious ass.

Even for those who don't even know what this documentary is about, watching him destroy his dream and career is inevitable from the first few minutes when you get to explore his vulgar personality and character. He went into Hollywood with no idea and basically left barely any the wiser.

The people you feel most sorry for are his band-mates. Although they also had a part to play with the miserable launch of their so-called music career, watching Troy sink them as he tries to pull his imaginary strings in the music industry is a notch below humiliating, not to mention embarrassing.

The worst part was seeing him trade barbs with that slimy excuse of a man who headed the casting agency, watching them at the Cannes Film Festival revel in the value of the almighty dollar before getting any of their facts straight first.

When it said that their album had sold 690 copies in six months (yes you read correctly, 690), there were a few awkward laughs in the audience. I don't think anyone in the audience really knew what to make of Duffy's actions. I felt not only embarrassment for him, but also disgust. He has quite a mouth on him and is not afraid to use it. One scene in particular shows him mouthing off in front his mother (who doesn't seem to be the least bit phased by it), and another scene showing him screaming into the speaker-phone about accusations of being called a liar. Watching it will really make your skin crawl.

It's hard to say as to who the documentary was trying to prove who the bigger tyrant was - Duffy or Harvey Weinstein. After all, Harvey has the comfort and leisure of being that way as he is a self-made man. Duffy on the other hand isn't.

There is one bizarre scene in "OVERNIGHT" that seemed like it came out of nowhere. It involved the premiere of Duffy's movie at a tiny cinema and his 'attempted' hit-and-run with an automobile that occurred outside. It's almost as if they tried to imply that Harvey Weinstein had ordered a hit on him or something, which only made Duffy look even more stupid.

While the conclusion of the documentary shows that the only people who stood by him - his friends, the people he ended up alienating now working in construction or manual labor, you can't help but exit the screening with a bad taste in your mouth and ponder the idea as to whether he has learned anything from all of this.

There is no question as to whether Duffy has any talent - obviously he does as there seems to be a cult following to the movie "THE BOONDOCK SAINTS". However, whether he has learned anything from his experience in BOTH the music and film industry is doubtful. Time will tell with the release of his next project, a sequel to "THE BOONDOCK SAINTS".

My Rating - 9 out of 10

Mil nubes de paz cercan el cielo, amor, jamás acabarás de ser amor
(2003)

Boring and pretentious "art-house" claptrap.
I nearly fell asleep during a screening of this. Of a boring story that seems to go on forever, it follows several days in the life of a male prostitute who falls in love with one of his tricks. After a heated affair, the trick leaves a long letter explaining why they cannot be together and how they must go on their separate ways.

The male prostitute then goes on a downward self-destructive spiral trying to find his "one true love", repeatedly returning to the same places they frequented, looking for more clues or signs as to where he may locate his love.

In the meanwhile, he hooks up with one ugly guy (who I thought was also a male prostitute), a gay basher, and some guy who ends up having a "three-second sexual intercourse session" with him in a back alley.

It never ceases to amaze me how films STILL portray random sex acts as scenes that can take place in a brief matter of seconds, such as in this case where the trick barely has his pants unbuckled before thrusting three times and miraculously experiencing orgasm!

All of these random encounters end with the sexual partner asking him to call them, to which he discards their telephone numbers.

There is a brief side-plot involving the main character visiting his busy mother who seems to have no time for his lifestyle. There is also another brief side-plot involving some random conversation with a young woman who has noticed him several times standing on the bridge from her window. And there is also one more brief side-plot involving him showing the letter to a male acquaintance, but the audience is not advised of his relation to this person.

None of these things really connect with each other, only to show us how lost and confused this young man really is. He seems to be living life like a ghost. There was one good scene in the entire movie that involved him rummaging through a yard sale looking for a particular record with the world's saddest song on it.

Otherwise, this movie just seems to go on forever. Filmed in black and white, it may seem very dreamlike, but sitting in the theater for nearly two hours watching this drivel will resemble something more like a nightmare!

I found the ending to be confusing as I wasn't quite sure whether the young man had died and gone to heaven? That would have been a nice pay off to end the misery that both audience and the main character had to endure in this meaningless tripe. But seeing as this is an "independent film", movies with endings like these are supposed to encourage you to "use your imagination".

For those of you who are seeking out nudity, there are only brief scenes and most of them are filmed in such a way that anything suggestive are artfully concealed within the shadows. In other words, don't waste your time with this one.

My Rating - 2 out of 10

The Stepford Husbands
(1996)

Made-for-television trash.
Donna Mills once again proves why she is the ultimate queen of made-for-television camp trash mini-classics. Hot off the heels from her long-running role on "KNOTS LANDING" and a string of generic forgettable garbage "Lifetime Television for Women" movies like "RUNAWAY FATHER", "IN MY DAUGHTER'S NAME" and "MY NAME IS KATE", Mills hams it up in this forgettable low budget re-telling of "THE STEPFORD WIVES" with a new spin on it... that this time, it's the poor husbands who get the "STEPFORD" makeover!

Mills and made-for-television male counter-part Michael Ontkean play husband and wife who move to a lily-white perfect town where Mills is talked into signing her 'too-busy' author husband up for a series of sinister experiments run by none other than Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher(!) in a career-low performance as an evil scientist determined to turn men into perfect mates for their poor put-upon wives!

Being a 'made-for-television' movie, "STEPFORD HUSBANDS" can't afford to delve into a story-line involving "robotic" husbands, thus the cheap explanation that the men can only be changed by administering a drug.

Shirley Feeney-Meaney, uh I mean Ms. Cindy Williams befriends Mills, coaxing her on with the experiments while poor Ontkean slowly morphs into a boring passionless husband of no feelings or personality with a penchant for bad acting!

Camp moments include Louise Fletcher viewing live feeds from security footage as Donna Mills haplessly runs down a hallway and in and out of various rooms like a Bugs Bunny classic searching for her husband while being chased by Fletcher's henchmen, Cindy Williams getting it in the face with a frying pan and Fletcher being "administered" a syringe containing a lethal dose by her backstabbing assistant!

This made-for-television trash is so bad, you'll have no other choice but to enjoy it! Or watch simply for Louise Fletcher's over-the-top performance as a sinister scientist who will stop at nothing to create the perfect man!

My Rating - 1 out of 10

My Father's Son
(2002)

A sad and lonely look at a man who just wants to be left alone...
Many people disregard 'homeless people' as either being lazy, 'mental cases' whom have slipped through the cracks of the system, or drunks and/or junkies, lost without a cause. That is not my personal opinion, although widely assumed by society in general, this is the actual opinion of a homeless man himself, the central figure of this sad yet insightful documentary.

John Blalock is the main subject of this documentary set in Florida that looks into the lives of homeless men who have found shelter in the woods on vacant land.

The world of a homeless man is a very lonely one, and in John's case, he keeps the company of a few men who all seem to be homeless for different reasons. John, a college graduate, once married, a proud homeowner and carpenter, found himself tied up with drug and drinking problems which sent him spiraling into a world of which he lost control. He lost his house and family and chose to clean up his act by living homeless in the woods.

General society sees most homeless people as those dirty, gin-soaked vagrants who sit on the street corner downtown begging for money, usually accompanied with a filthy blanket and makeshift cardboard sign explaining their vagrancy.

Putting stereotypes aside, John, with the knowledge of the carpentry profession, uses that to his advantage and builds a makeshift shelter out of building scraps and construction site refuse. He also has the ability to strip metals and trade them in at aluminum and copper factories for cash. With that cash, he buys his minimal needs like food and household products to keep his living conditions habitable.

John is a very intelligent person. He isn't lazy, he reads the paper, second-hand books, knows right from wrong and does not spend his waking hours drunk or looking for a fix. He simply wants to live alone in a society that isn't run by the rules of a Government.

Unfortunately, most of the homeless people in his company are mental cases or drunks. John disapproves of their actions and reasons for being homeless, yet feels that he is hardly in a position to criticize their lifestyle choices.

He's been homeless for nearly 11 years and has not spoken to his sister and niece in that time. The creators of this documentary focus on their reunion and why he can't bring himself to make contact with them.

The homeless men receive frequent visits from an outreach group who provide medical assistance to the needy, and one woman in particular helps make the reunion between John and his sister possible. When they do meet, it is a very bittersweet moment for both of them.

Forget 'reality' shows like "SURVIVOR". If you ever want to know what it's like to survive on bare necessities and will power, then you should watch and learn some lessons from this man.

After watching this documentary, I never thought in my lifetime that I'd ever find inspiration in a homeless man! Who knew?

Arena: Bette Davis: A Basically Benevolent Volcano
(1983)
Episode 2, Season 9

So-so documentary/interview with Ms Davis.
I saw this on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) when they ran a marathon of these classic interviews, and I happened to catch this one profiling Bette Davis.

The title "A basically benevolent volcano" refers to a comment used by Olivia De Havilland (one of the interviewees) to describe Bette (the two worked together in "IN THIS OUR LIFE" and "HUSH, HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE").

A BBC-financed production, this interview with Bette (it was filmed after she had a mild stroke as she can be seen talking out of one side of her mouth, but before she had that massive stroke where it rendered her unrecognizable) takes you back to her childhood where her mother worked her back off to put her through school, and how Bette vowed that she would get a job that paid so well, her mother would never have to work again.

And that she did. From Broadway baby to Hollywood, Bette made an impact at MGM Studios where she filmed a few supporting roles in some duds and then was subsequently fired (ie her contract was not "renewed") where she caught the next train back to the East, about to throw in the towel, when Mr George Arliss himself gave her a telephone call and coaxed her back to Hollywood to star in his latest film as his love interest (LOL!).

They actually show a snippet from this film ("THE WORKING MAN") where Mr George Arliss, heavily dressed in lipstick and make-up, trying to bat away Bette's sexual advances toward him where he plays a man nearly 40 years her senior (if trash like this was filmed today, he would be replaced with Woody Allen).

Back in Hollywood, Bette manages to get a crack at stardom again, this time getting some choice roles as 'strong-willed' female characters, usually either as a victim of violence or a modern day woman. She further discusses her limited roles in generic (of the time) trash like "FASHIONS OF 1934" and "BUREAU OF MISSING PERSONS", but her big break came in 1935 when she finally won the Best Actress Oscar for "DANGEROUS".

She fondly remembers the one role out of her entire film career that she was satisfied with (acting-wise), in "DARK VICTORY" where she plays a heroic woman grappling with the fact that she is going blind. Co-star Geraldine Fitzgerald gives some insight on how intimidated she was from what people had said about Bette at the time. Apparently the word was going around that Bette did not like other actresses getting 'face time' on camera in the same scenes as her, and that if Geraldine wanted to share the camera, she would have to get between a piece of furniture so Bette couldn't push her out of the scene (LOL)! Apparently it turned out to be all lies, and Geraldine thought Bette was one of the sweetest actresses she had ever worked with.

Bette comments on her WWII effort with the opening of the "Hollywood Canteen", an outlet for army veterans to 'mingle' with the stars. They even show footage where she does a small number and goes on to do the jitterbug with a professional dancer where he throws her around causing her to get a few bruises on her knees, yet she wanted it to look as 'realistic' as possible and swore that she was only going to film this in one take, hence the part where she staggers back outside the canteen (all bruised up) to finish her swan song!

She then goes on to talk about her career-defining moment in "ALL ABOUT EVE", where interviewee Anne Baxter gives her two cents on what a brilliant actress she is.

Her film career stagnated for a while until she came back with "WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?". Unfortunately, she (purposely?) avoids talking about this era, especially where it concerns her big comeback in the 60's horror genre (ie "THE NANNY", "HUSH HUSH", "DEAD RINGER", etc) and goes directly to the current day (ie. early 1980's) where she was still acting in her mid- 70's.

Not much is said on her many failed marriages, her disabled daughter "B.D.", the death of her mother or her countless publicized feuds with various actresses (including Ms Joan Crawford).

For a "film prospective", this is a pretty good documentary/interview. If you want to know more about the "personal life" of Bette Davis, you're probably better off with a Lifetime Television "Intimate Portrait". This was probably one of the last good interviews that she gave before she suffered the major stroke that really knocked her to the ground. She was never the same after that and it showed in both her films and personality (apparently she became so cantankerous, even sweethearts Lillian Gish and Helen Hayes couldn't say a nice thing about her).

Maniac
(1980)

Good for a laugh (or ten).
I didn't have high expectations when I watched this movie the other night, certainly not where the "horror" aspect was concerned, but I was very surprised at how many good laughs I got out of it!

The film opens with some sort of dream sequence involving the usual 80's horror cliche where a young couple are alone on a deserted beach, the boyfriend walking off to get firewood so the girl can get her throat slit by a psychopath with a razor blade. Don't worry, this horror film isn't discriminatory when it comes to its victims, the guys get it just as bad too. Her boyfriend gets his head sliced off with a wire!

Cut to the present, we are introduced to our "maniac", wonderfully played by Joe Spinell, waking up from a bad nightmare (or was it?), who shares his bed with a mannequin wearing a bloody scalp. Turns out our hero is nothing more than a big "momma's boy" who only wants to have her close to him after she kicked the bucket in a car accident a few years earlier.

This is supposed to be the "explanation" as to why this guy goes out scalping women and stapling them to mannequins.

But that isn't the reason why anyone would care to watch this movie. The REAL reason is to watch this psycho serial-killer stalking the streets of New York City at night, preying on hapless female victims who end up getting themselves in ridiculous situations with comedic timing.

The first female victim is a prostitute who is choked to death. But the comedy begins with the second murder where a cheating whore and her boyfriend leave a bar and sneak off to a secluded area for a bit of slap and tickle in their parked car.

You will be surprised to see Tom Savini (everyone's favorite go-to guy when it comes to over-the-top special effects and grisly make-up in 70's and 80's horror movies) making a cameo as the "boyfriend" (and I'm pretty sure he had something to do with his own death scene!).

Our maniac shows up with a shotgun and blows ol' Tom's head off in a scene that brings back fond memories of "SCANNERS", before giving his girlfriend the same treatment. Unfortunately, we don't get to see her gratuitous "head exploding" shot.

The funniest scene involves the next victim, a nurse who gets chased by our maniac into a deserted subway. She locks herself in a toilet cubicle where she makes the most funniest faces I have EVER seen in a movie (Jim Carrey, you have met your match) as she tries to hold her breath so our maniac won't hear her. Unfortunately, the comedy comes to an abrupt end as she gets it through the chest with a dagger.

There are a few more murders and a laughable subplot involving some female photographer of whom he becomes interested in. But you may as well fast forward to the end where our maniac discovers all of his mannequins (with scalps attached) coming to life where you will have the biggest laugh of your life! They all look like zombified versions of the women he butchered, seeking revenge on him in the same way they themselves were murdered.

One woman's head falls off (LOL) and blood spurts out of the bloody stump like some sort of "CREEPSHOW" ploy to our maniac's horror, while the rest of the women struggle to remove his head from his body in a side-splitting scene that has to be seen to be believed.

The ending is reminiscent to that of the ultimate trash classic "PIECES", although that movie came out a few years after this one. This film bundles all the cheap elements of 80's horror trash, such as stupid female characters who scream to get killed, bumbling police detectives, hilarious dialogue and the usual round-up of male scumbag characters who add their support to the thin plot.

I seriously recommend this movie if you're looking for a good laugh or two. You won't be disappointed!

My Rating - 1 out of 10

Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror
(2000)

Decent enough documentary on Dario...
...if you enjoy his movies. Throughout his lengthy career as one of Italy's most famous horror directors of the "giallo" genre, I enjoyed about five or six of Dario's films. "PROFONDO ROSSO", "BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE", "FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET" and "SUSPIRIA". His last good movie was "TENEBRE" which was somewhere back in the early 1980's.

The films he has pumped out in that time and now have all been regarded as either disappointing or "trash". The last film of his that I saw was "TRAUMA" which was painful to sit through. It seemed like somewhere overnight he just lost his 'spark' and 'touch' as that unique director with the nightmarish cinematic vision he had held for the good part of his career.

The narrator of this documentary is obviously one of Dario's biggest fans. He gushes over a lot of his later movies as if they were cinematic treasure (including "TRAUMA" and "TWO EVIL EYES"). He also refers to Dario's daughter, Asia Argento, as "Ah-jee-a", which is a pretty unique spin on the word "ASIA" if you ask me!

For Dario's fans, you will be shocked to see some of the interviewees they dragged out of semi-retirement/obscurity for this documentary. Those of you wondering whatever happened to Daria Nicolodi (who was featured in about four of his movies) gives some brief insight regarding her marriage to Dario and why she decided not to appear in any more of his films (she didn't think there were any more creative ways to kill off her characters!).

She appears in this documentary as how you might have imagined her to look these days, but unfortunately she is wearing a big pair of sunglasses the entire time so you can't see her eyes (and we all know how much information you can gather just by looking at a pair of eyes).

Another big surprise was seeing Jessica Harper (from "SUSPIRIA") who I swear looked exactly the same nearly 25 years ago! Except for the turkey waddle and the turtle neck she was wearing to try and disguise it, she has really kept herself looking well in all this time. Looking at her resume on the imdb, she hasn't completely disappeared from the film industry, but I guess I just hadn't seen the right "straight-to-video" or "made-for-television" movies that she has done in that time.

The same goes for "straight-to-video perennial" Michael Brandon who offers some trivial commentary on his involvement in the film "FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET" and how after the filming wrapped, he was invited to a spooky mansion where Dario surprised him with a goodbye party. Juicy information for Dario enthusiasts, boring for everyone else who tuned in just to learn more about Dario.

The only other actress from any of Dario's films who adds her two cents to this documentary is Piper Laurie who goes into great detail about her "brilliant death scene" in "TRAUMA" where she was apparently placed on a spinning chair to make it look like she was getting her head sliced off as her head spun around.

I got a few chuckles out of Tom Savini who comments on that particular scene, and you can tell he really digs his craft with special effects.

Horror director John Carpenter, Alice Cooper, George Romero and Keith Emerson also offer further insight and their personal opinions of Dario Argento.

There are some brief notes from Dario's daughters, Asia and Fiore (both who have starred in his films). The best piece of information here is Asia explaining her nudity scene in "TRAUMA" and how she was uncomfortable with it, especially being directed by her own father and how she wasn't quite sure what was going through his mind to make him want to direct a scene like that. However, there is no animosity from either daughter toward their father and it seems like they all share a great deal of understanding.

Some small tidbits include Dario's first big break in the "spaghetti Western" genre with his screen-writing credit of the ultra-violent "ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST" which is also regarded as one of the best Western films of all time. I was also surprised that he was involved with "DAWN OF THE DEAD" as an uncredited contributer. Later, both he and George Romero would collaborate on a series of short films in the lackluster "TWO EVIL EYES".

Dario enthusiasts will get a kick out of the violent scenes that are sprinkled through the documentary from "SUSPIRIA" (the dog attacking the blind man), "PROFONDO ROSSO" (the killer getting her head sliced off after her necklace gets caught in the elevator) and of course the above-mentioned scene involving Piper Laurie getting her head lopped off.

For a one-hour documentary, this was satisfactory. However, I expected a lot more insight to Dario's career when he hit his peak in the late 70's. The narrator chose to examine the latter part of his career, which in my opinion, was and IS pretty much finished.

The Mole: Episode #4.1
(2004)
Episode 1, Season 4

Let's hope that this is the last of it...
"THE MOLE" started out as a good show and got even better with "THE MOLE II: THE NEXT BETRAYAL". It's a reality show for the thinking mind who look for more than glimpses of Richard Hatch walking around in the buff.

Unfortunately, the ratings for "THE MOLE II" were so abysmal, they shelved it after a few episodes and brought it back in the Summer. We all thought that was the end of it - but no, ABC thought they could revive this show by doing what every other game show does when it's on its last legs... a "Celebrity edition"!

If you thought the "celebrities" in "CELEBRITY MOLE: HAWAII" were questionable, the ones in "YUCATAN" are laughable.

For God knows what reason or whatever sins we are being punished for, Stephen Baldwin and Corbin Bernsen are brought back into the fold for another go round, where they spend the entire time jerking everybody around and being their usual obnoxious unfunny selves.

The other "celebrities" are all has-been television stars from sitcoms that once ruled the prime-time roosts a decade or so ago (here's looking at you Mark Curry, Keshia and Tracy Gold). The remaining few include a washed-up basketball star who lives purely for shock value, a washed-up former MTV VJ and talk show host, and a never-quite-was "movie star"/model.

This is like painful psychotherapy for any viewer who made the misfortune (such as myself) to sit through this trash. It's like a burning train wreck, but you can't look away. To be honest, I just wanted to find out who the "mole" turned out to be. In fact, I did start out with positive hopes when the show began. I was rooting for Ananda Lewis, but lo and behold, she was the first one eliminated from the game. Go figure!

By the end, I thought Mark Curry had turned into the male version of Kathy Griffin. Grating, unfunny and absolutely annoying. Dennis Rodman had turned into the Erik von Detten character, the silent and boring one. And Angie Everhart was Frederique van der Wal, without the charm and savvy.

As with all "Celebrity edition" specials, the games are usually dumbed down and no one plays seriously.

You can tell that the producers didn't stray far from "CELEBRITY MOLE: HAWAII" in terms of concept and game construction. The games were quite stupid (ie. the pinata donkeys... the class room quiz... the donkey ride with the shopping list...) - but nothing was worse than the game in "HAWAII" that involved running across some rocks to retrieve a rotisserie chicken with a set of tongs(!), I kid you not.

In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the producers just used all the "left over" games that they couldn't squeeze into the first celebrity edition.

By the end, I was just glad it was over. They've finally done what they set out to do - kill this show and drive away any viewers who still held a flicker of hope that the REAL "THE MOLE" series (with ACTUAL reality contestants) would finally return. I can just picture anyone tuning into this who hadn't seen "THE MOLE" before thinking, "So this is what all the fuss is about? What a load of crap!" Well done ABC, you gave "THE MOLE", the same treatment as you gave "WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?".

Take away the reality contestants and replace them with "special celebrity editions" of washed-up has beens and television stars of yesteryear who no-one cares about (or did back then) and then flog it to death for all it's worth. Let's hope that this is the last of it... I couldn't bear to see a third "CELEBRITY MOLE" hitting the airwaves. I would rather have no "MOLE" at all than this absolute garbage.

Kaaterskill Falls
(2001)

Boring trash that screams, "I'm an independent film! Love me!"
What a sorry excuse for a movie this was. Fortunately for me I skipped renting this, thereby foregoing the rental fee, but watched it on cable instead.

It didn't make the experience any less excruciating though.

What we basically have is some sort of yuppie couple, ridiculously played by two untalented hacks who wouldn't know the word "act" even if they stumbled upon it, who make a retreat to the quiet digs of the mountains for a weekend of getaway fashion. Instead, they decide to pick up a mysterious hitch-hiker who barely says more than two words (and trust me, that's a blessing in disguise) and with him comes trouble.

There were various points throughout the film where I dozed off and managed to pick up where I had left off simply because the film hadn't made any sort of progress. The camera work was jerky, the soundtrack was flat and boring (if you get your joy from listening to a guitar strumming out the same notes repeatedly, then that's your deal) and the acting, laughable.

As for the "plot twist" where we find out who really killed the hitch hiker... were we not supposed to see that one coming? I also see that the budget of this film (approximately $10.00) skimped on the make-up and special effects as afterwards when the camera pans on the poor hitch-hiker after he "falls" to his death on a pile of rocks below a cliff, there's not even any blood!

Whatever. If you get off on watching hack film makers try and copy classic directors by making hackneyed chop jobs like this garbage, then this movie is for you. It is torture trying to sit through this movie. It goes nowhere, and takes forever doing so as well.... VERY SLOWLY.

However, some might find amusement in the laughable acting range displayed by the couple, in particular the girl with the black-rimmed glasses. As someone else commented, "How mid-90's!"

My Rating - 0 out of 10

Survival Island
(2002)

This movie should be in the "comedy" section at the video store!
Thankfully, I didn't waste my money renting this movie, I watched it on cable instead, where it was part of the AMC Friday night "Frightfest" line-up. The only thing I seem to have wasted was my time and my last remaining brain cell.

However, I think the cable channel mistook this movie for a "horror" film where it should have been more appropriately slotted between an airing of "AIRPLANE II" and "STEWARDESS SCHOOL".

My curiosity to see this movie spiked when I discovered that Xander from "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" was starring in it. The first chuckles came when the credits list him as a "Producer", followed by the blatant rip off of the opening credits from the movie "THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR".

But never mind that, after you get past the hilarious introduction which shows how the evil piñata is created, the movie kicks into overdrive as we flash forward to the present day where a group of frat kids are heading to an island for an underwear scavenger hunt! I kid you not, some people actually spent a lot of time and effort to think up this highly original plot.

I for one was expecting something similar to Nicholas Brendon's last beach horror movie, "PSYCHO BEACH PARTY" which turned out to be a rather amusing camp trash mini-classic. Apparently, Brendon was looking to steer himself in a more "serious" direction and decided to leave the laugh track behind.

Unfortunately, the laugh track follows him to this particular movie as well, but for all the wrong reasons. All of the characters are incredibly annoying, so you're just praying that this piñata thing shows up really fast so it can start the bloodshed. And when it finally does show up, that is when the real laughter begins!

I haven't laughed this hard since, well, "PSYCHO BEACH PARTY"! The piñata looks like it was created on someone's home computer, a Commodore 64 perhaps. You can't help but laugh when you see it's eyes glow orange and you suddenly get to see through "Pinata vision" which is apparently a poor attempt at copying "PREDATOR", but this time, we get to see its victims as orange triangles stacked on top of each other (LOL).

I agree with another user's comment here, before seeing this movie, I was picturing some sort of papier-mache donkey that is brought to life and goes on some sort of a killing rampage. Watching this particular "piñata" running around clubbing people to death with a yard stick was too hilarious for words.

There is one scene that involves a dirt buggy crashing into a log and "blowing up". The 'explosion' graphics look like they were spliced right out of a video game. In fact, I don't even think they used a "green screen" when filming this particular scene as it looks like they transferred a CGI "fireball" from the early-90's computer game "DOOM" directly onto the film - the graphics don't even match the surrounding scenery and the flames overlap the trees! They must have had a lot of good times while filming this. I could picture the director shouting to the girl, "Now fly through the air like you're dodging a fireball!", the girl trying to keep a straight face while improvising at the same time.

The acting is also in a field of its own. If you want to call what these actors are doing, "acting" - there is a scene where one girl is picking underwear off a roped line and decides to skip a few for no reason. The whole point of them being there is to COLLECT AS MANY PAIRS OF UNDERWEAR AS YOU CAN - which would probably also explain why one of the guys also decides to leave several boxers pinned to a bush. Priceless!

The worst actor out of all of them was the one handcuffed to Nicholas Brendon - Jaime Presley. I had to click on her name to see what else she had been in and was not surprised at all to see that most of it had either gone straight-to-video or was a small cameo in a two-bit television show on UPN.

The dialog was downright embarrassing. When Nicholas Brendon tries to impress Jaime Presley at the beginning of the movie by explaining the history of "Cinco de Mayo" after everyone else at the table had passed for stupidity, I just burst out laughing. This movie was simply awful!

Also, when did they change the name of this movie to "DEMON ISLAND"? Is this a laughable attempt at trying to rename the film to trick people into seeing it after the bad word of mouth gets around?

After watching this trash, one can only hope that someone would fill a real piñata with copies of this movie so we can all have a go at it with a wooden bat.

My Rating - 0 out of 10

Interiors
(1978)

Boring convoluted drivel.
There are no excuses for this trite and excruciating examination into the lives of a mentally and emotionally imbalanced family, poorly served up as a "serious film".

Watching "Interiors" is like watching a painful therapy session of the disintegration of a dysfunctional family behind one-way glass. You as the viewer, have no say about the things that they do. At times, the film goes at such slow pace, it's like watching paint dry.

There really isn't much of a plot here. Critics and 'high intellects' may try and dress this up in praise and fancy words, but when you remove all the frills and fancy wrapping, there's not much left but an empty dusty room with a few dead flies.

The plot (or what there is of it), concerns a recently separated wealthy couple (E.G. Marshall and Geraldine Page), their three spoilt brat daughters who are now grown up (Mary Beth Hurt, Diane Keaton and Kristin Griffith), their spouses (Richard Jordan and Sam Waterson) and their father's new lover and wife-to-be (Maureen Stapleton).

That's the plot. Geraldine Page, in her most boring and one-dimensional role throughout her elegant film history, parades around on the screen in New York socialite fashions, murmuring constantly like a blithering idiot about designs and colors while clinging to a false and rather stupid hope that E.G. Marshall will return to her.

E.G. Marshall on the other hand has been driven away by her psychotic isolation and crumbling dementia, into the arms of a 'lower class' lady, portrayed by the always dependable and talented Maureen Stapleton. Why Stapleton has always shone in 'supporting roles' and never a main one is beyond me. She totally stole the movie here.

She appears in one scene wearing a striking red dress, clashing against the sterile, antiseptic and clinical tones that Page applied to the beach house where she once lived. As artistic Woody Allen may have intended this vision to be, it was the only scene in this entire trash that actually made me appreciate anything about this movie.

The daughters themselves are on an entirely different page altogether. Not one of them were worth feeling any bit sympathetic for. They were all self-indulged, spoilt, egotistical vile brats that made you wish very bad things upon them. Mary Beth Hurt's character was the worst. She was just a very disgusting and ugly being, revolting on the inside and not very attractive on the out. She spends most of her time pacing back and forth spouting wit and wisdom like she were quoting from the book of high intellect itself (seriously, as someone else pointed out, I have never heard ANYONE talk like she does in this movie).

Diane Keaton is surprisingly wasted in an unsympathetic role where she feels that Mary Beth Hurt is the favorite daughter and that she herself is just a foil to absorb all of her mother's misfortunes and bad luck. Whenever her mother suffers a nervous breakdown, Diane Keaton receives the brunt of it. Whenever her mother needs to complain about whether or not their father will be driven back into her arms, Diane Keaton receives the brunt of it. It never ends. Keaton herself, is supposed to be some sort of a struggling poet with a one-hit-wonder author for a spouse. Between the two of them, they sit around waxing fancy words and witty dialect, you're not sure whether you've just stumbled upon a re-enactment of the last days of Socrates.

The third daughter (Kristin Griffith) is the youngest. She is a struggling actress relegated to third-rate television shows. She is barely around, hence the reason why Keaton and Hurt receive most of their mother's anguish. When she does make an appearance, she doesn't offer anything to the film, other than to appear in a ridiculous scene where she is nearly raped by Richard Jordan's character during a drunken confrontation.

For about an hour and a half, Keaton, Hurt and Page spend most of the time talking out of their behinds concerning their feelings and anguish, about why they are the way they are and how screwed up their lives are. Hurt's character especially is the most grating, as an unemployed no-hoper who takes out all of her misfortunes on her poor deranged mother and anyone else who has the misfortune of being around to listen to her whine and whine and whine.

My hopes were brightened when Maureen Stapleton enters the picture. She is a kind lady caught in the middle of this psychotic mess, along with E.G. Marshall who is rather clueless to his children's unbalanced emotions and their despise towards both him and their mother. I actually never grasped why they were so angry. They didn't have a poor upbringing, their parents gave them everything they ever wanted (except maybe a hug?), and yet they're convinced that it's the end of the world and that their lives have been screwed up forever. Give me a break!

The worst part about all of this is the fact that despite all the anger, anguish, hopeless despair and sadness, Woody Allen manages to drag it out for nearly two hours (and it feels like it too, every second of every minute). But between every over-exaggerated emotion that is acted out, there is at least a 10 minute boring part in the middle that you have to sit through.

That is how the DVD should have been made. Each chapter could be skipped via 'scene of emotion' (ie. Chapter 1 - When Mary Beth Hurt screams. Chapter 2 - When Diane Keaton wails about why she's got it so bad. Chapter 3 - When Mary Beth Hurt whines about, etc.)

There is small satisfaction in the final scenes where Geraldine Page's character expires by taking a walk into the ocean, but other than that - I was so glad when the closing credits appeared. The movie just never seems to stop. There really is no pleasure in watching "Interiors", unless you get your kicks out of watching rich dysfunctional families cry about why the world is so unfair.

Please. It may be the year 2004, but I can guarantee you that times weren't THAT different in 1978. This movie is an exercise in patience. The acting is overdone and the direction is just cheesy. Woody overdoes the 'artsy fartsy' crap by trying to see how many times he can artfully shoot a scene with the heads of the three sisters in the one scene. It's laughable really, and that's the only slightly amusing thing about this boring drivel.

How this film got all those Oscar nominations and critical applause is beyond me. It's almost like the critics felt that if they didn't praise this movie, they would be thought of as either "un-hip" or they "just didn't get it". Sad really.

My Rating - 2 out of 10

Angel, Angel, Down We Go
(1969)

Jennifer Jones is absolutely embarrassing in this late 60's psychadelic trash.
What "THE BIG CUBE" was to Lana Turner, "CULT OF THE DAMNED" (aka "ANGEL, ANGEL, DOWN WE GO") is to Jennifer Jones.

Ms Jones, a beautiful actress, usually playing serious roles in respectable films such as "LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING" and "DUEL IN THE SUN", makes her grand entrance into the twilight of her acting career with this extremely tasteless garbage.

Here, she is the bored, restless and needy wife of a tycoon who welcomes home her 18-year old daughter who has been raised abroad in a Swiss school. The actress who plays her daughter is pretty bad, but who could have imagined that Jennifer Jones could be worse?

I don't think anyone could have imagined as to how bad this movie would turn out. The director must have had liberating visions on the issues of homosexuality, nudity, obesity, drugs, sex and free love. Jumble them all into one movie and headline it with an Oscar-winning actress in the twilight of her career, and you have "CULT OF THE DAMNED".

Was it Jennifer Jones who insisted that every 'close up' shot of her face be filmed directly under a spotlight with as much base plastered over it so that it looked like matte? Was it Jennifer Jones who wanted to 'step out of character' by playing a completely unlikeable lush-of-a-woman with a background in stag films? Either Ms Jones was completely into the "LSD-era" if you get my drift, or her agent was.

Ms Jones not only steps completely out of character for this movie, but she takes a giant leap into a whole new "Twilight Zone" dimension where most of her fans would be scratching their heads as to how and why she chose to star in this. I remember I got the same feeling when I saw the beautiful Ms Katharine Hepburn dragged out of semi-retirement for a small cameo in Warren Beatty's "LOVE AFFAIR" where she was encouraged to utter the "F" word amidst completely embarrassing dialogue.

Watching Ms Jones confess, "I MADE 30 STAG FILMS AND NEVER FAKED AN ORGASM!" while badly acting amid Fellini-inspired scenery filled with smoke and harsh red tones, is just bizarre.

How this film became retitled as "CULT OF THE DAMNED" is beyond me. There is no "cult" in this movie. The original title "ANGEL, ANGEL, DOWN WE GO" is more appropriate as it is featured in a rather appalling set at a pool party that is supposed to conjure the likes of Jim Morrison, but instead invokes laughter.

Everyone from Lou Rawls to Roddy McDowell look completely stupified as to how they ended up in this film. There are even times where their faces look like deer frozen in a set of headlights.

I must say that after watching this movie, I now know where Jennifer Jones got the inspiration for her look that she carried with her to the set of "THE TOWERING INFERNO". There is one scene in this movie where Jennifer is sitting in the back of a limo sharing a conversation with Jordan Christopher. She is wearing the exact same white dress with choker and hairstyle that she had in "THE TOWERING INFERNO"! I honestly thought that she had stepped right out of this scene and into the glass elevator as Lisolette Mueller.

Thank God this movie would not be her final film. It would be absolutely depressing if this was credited as her last movie. She redeemed herself in her next and final feature "THE TOWERING INFERNO", and hopefully fired her agent in the meantime.

Only watch this movie if you, like me, were dying with curiosity to see Ms Jones spit, "YOU BLOODY SADISTIC DYKE!" to her maid while getting rough-handled during a shoulder massage. Other than that, avoid this dreck at all costs.

My Rating - 0 out of 10

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