"Just in time for Halloween, a different kind of horror story. This time it's not a demented killer with an axe or a power tool, it's not a supernatural menace from another dimension, it's a drug that makes real life a horror movie: PCP. Angel Dust. Sherman Hemsley. When up and coming musician Philip Michael Thomas ries to buy a stick of weed to celebrate his record deal, the lowlife dealer gived him a stick of the sherm, which immediately fractures his reality into a million pieces. Soon his comb turns into an alligator, the pipes in his bathroon turn into snakes and his life turns to shit. As usual, his friends try to help him but he goes farther and farther off the deep end until finally, in an astonishing massive freakout scene in the supermarket, he must confront the ultimate PCP apocalypse! Made in 1978 but not released on video until Thomas had achieved success in Miami Vice, this demented film is only aided by the new, hyper-serious Philip Michael Thomas wraparound segments and music video(!) added for the 1986 video release. This movie is it!"Lives will be changed! Tickets are only a dollar! If you can deny yourself the opportunity to watch this on the big screen after viewing the following clip, then fuck off and die!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
"Most liberals will hate this movie for it surely tells it like it is... if you are a fan of big government or dislike survivalists stay away from this one" - IMDb user, Nolan Price of Shawnee, OK.
If I am ever diagnosed with a terminal illness I’m going to put this movie on, because every moment of it feels like a fucking eternity. I’m not exactly sure what happened here. This thing has so many great things going for it. You have Steve Railsback as Jack Tillman, the survivalist of which the title speaks. You have Marjoe Gortner as Lt. Youngman, a bat shit leader of the National Guard who squanders his resources during a crisis to snuff out Tillman for making him look stupid in front of some Oakies. The bare bones are promising: Tillman, a man who’s been preparing for the breakdown of law and order in the face of imminent world war, braves riots and upstart warlords to find his son. All these elements sewn together should make for a very entertaining movie. Unfortunately, there is one killer ingredient in the bowl that turns this thing into molasses: padding. Virtually every establishing shot is BLED TO DEATH for the purpose of extending the running time of a film that should have only been (and probably was) about 70 minutes long. There's driving. Lots of driving. Lots of shots of cars driving down winding roads. And then there's running. My god, it feels like people are running through brush on a loop. Night time establishing shots of the moon that go on for fucking eons. I won't even get into the marathon shots of Gortner's helicopter continually landing and lifting off, or the battery of pointless aerial shots they sandwich in between them. While this film is not without basic story telling problems, it is this minutia of excessively dull bullshit that drowns the pacing and brings on the yawn.
The story itself is sort of like a Tea Partier’s wet dream. In some remote and unpopulated area of
When Youngman tries to stop Tillman from getting his gold out of the bank, Tillman pretty much makes him look like a total boob by running over his motorcycle with his tractor. While they continually allude to the fact that these two characters have some sort of sordid history, Tillman’s ultimate disrespect toward Youngman spawns a die-hard vendetta.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (literally), Tillman’s wife and daughter are sexually assaulted and shot to death by trio of senselessly marauding rotten-toothed hippies. The best part is that they don’t even break in. Instead, they pretty much just strut in because the survivalist’s wife forgot to lock the goddamn door. This was just one of many inane details that bothered me about this movie. Anyway, Tillman gets back to find his family butchered. His daughter’s hanging on by a thread, so he rushes her to a hospital. There, he meets up with family friends The Ryans, a husband and wife doctor/nurse team played by consummate weasel Cliff De Young and the aging Susan Blakely. Unfortunately, Tillman’s daughter is DOA, and the rioters outside have resorted to using TNT to get into the waiting room.
With the situation rapidly deteriorating, Tillman realizes he’s got to go find his son, who’s been sent away to sleep-away camp for the summer. It’s only a matter of time before things go sour for the Ryans, but De Young’s character is adamant that he obey his oath and stay to help the blood crazed denizens outside. Tillman says “fuck that” and knocks his pussy ass out, and then takes the doctor and his wife on a road trip to find his kid.
Meanwhile, Gortner gets a Colonel to sign off on a helicopter, and he’s soon stalking Tillman through the air.
The second killer ingredient here is the sheer illogical nature of the characters, in particular Cliff De Young’s doctor character, Vincent Ryan. All this dude does is whine, and bitch and complain, and he seems eager to break away from Tillman, even though he’s their only source of protection. In fact, Vincent and his wife Linda (Blakely) decide to part ways with Tillman, which gets them into trouble with some bikers. Vince gets his nose broken and his wife’s narrow corridor almost gets renovated into a double wide hallway, but Tillman shows up with his rifle and starts blowing biker scum away. Afterward, Vince is still eager to brave the potential gang rape of his wife by leaving the security Tillman provides just so he can go help others. That’s pretty unbelievable, but it gets much worse. What practically murders the film is the ensuing romance between nurse Linda and Tillman.
Once Nurse Linda realizes that her husband is a total pencil neck twerp incapable of protecting her, she starts making eyes at Tillman. De Young gets the drift and splits. In a pointless excursion, both Tillman and Nurse Linda find an abandoned hotel somewhere and decide to fuck. This dude’s wife just got raped and murdered by Neo-Mansonites, and not even 48 hours later he’s already nailing some other broad? What an asshole. Hilariously, amidst the approaching post apocalypse, these two seem more concerned about how they’re going to explain to Tillman’s son why he has a new mommy now.
Eventually, they find his kid hiding in some pre-designated cave. I guess they had a contingency plan in case the world went to hell while he was away at summer camp. The ending is a bunch of nonsense with Lt. Youngman commanding the Hell’s Angel’s chapter of the National Guard to kill off Tillman, but that obviously doesn’t work out well for them because, after all, this film is titled “The Survivalist.”
The bright side is pretty bleak here. Scrubs-clad Cliff De Young plays a great blubbering vagina. Railsback is here, but he’s not nearly coked out enough to be entertaining. You do get to see Blakely’s tits, but even at this point she’s old and dried out, so who cares anyway? Even Gortner is only minimally entertaining with a catch phrase that gets old very quickly. With a lot of trimming, this might have been a smoother ride, but as it stands “The Survivalist” contains all the boredom and anxiety of an eight hour car ride through
For the morbidly curious, here are the first fifteen minutes of the film, courtesy TheRareMovieGuy. Admittedly, it's good for some laughs, but it deteriorates quickly.
The film was apparently based on the cultishly popular pulp series, "The Survivalist" by Jerry Ahern, though they seem to share little outside of a few themes.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Stuart Gordon has solidified a reputation as one of the horror genre’s heavyweights through a very narrow margin of good work. The immediate standouts of course are the classic “Re-Animator,” and from my point of view, the superior “From Beyond.” Personally, “Dolls” only squeaks by because it’s heavily greased up in nostalgia. Outside of a few titles, Gordon’s resume is rather disappointing. There were strained efforts to rekindle Gordon’s heat over the years, though their failure had more to do with the economics of Full Moon. I remember sitting through the not-even-awful-enough-to-be-laughable “Robot Jox” and thinking, “holy shit, this is by the guy who made 'Re-Animator?'” It wasn’t until the “Castle Freak” affair that I was fully discouraged from ever giving another shit about what Gordon was doing. As with most Full Moon films at the time, the only cool thing about the movie was the action figure tie-in, and even still, the movie itself was impossibly shitty, so it made it hard to even wanna own the thing.
Fast forward to a cozy, rainy afternoon some time in the mid-2000s fit to be wasted on Sci-Fi channel originals. This was back before some woman had disfigured the network’s reputation with her gynocentric re-titling. I was probably poised for my third horrible feature of the day when Brian Yuzna’s Executive Producer credit prompted eye-rolling. But wait… hold on. Directed by Stuart Gordon? This was a winning combination. Yuzna had sporadic hits with the live action “Guyver,” “Return of the Living Dead III,” and I even really loved “Bride of Re-Animator.” The works that defined Gordon as one of the “masters of horror” were produced by Yuzna, and it was very apparent that once that team parted ways, the quality of Gordon’s work declined. Say what you want about some of his movies, bottom line is that Yuzna is a great producer, and Charles Band is not.
The film that once again united Yuzna and Gordon was titled “Dagon,” yet another HP Lovecraft inspired horror jaunt, this time inspired by “The Shadow over Insmouth.” Ten minutes in, and it was very apparent that these two guys were still very capable of creating palpable atmosphere – something Gordon’s post-“Dolls” productions lacked completely.
While sailing the
Rarely do so-called Lovecraft adaptations closely resemble their source. That’s been the main criticism from fans for years. However, since most of Lovecraft’s stories are relatively short, they require a great deal of embellishment. Of all the Lovecraft films floating around, “Dagon” is easily in the top percentile in terms of its faithfulness to the source material, though it still takes quite a few liberties. Gordon’s robust reverence for the Lovecraft universe feeds and makes healthy the overall spirit of the production, while Yuzna brings great value to the production. Everything from the production design, locations, and special effects are wonderful. All ingredients spun together conjure an atmosphere strong enough to stand toe to toe with something kind of Giallo. Not that I’m saying this is Giallo, but the vibe is rich enough to compete in that class.
My only criticism toward the film will probably seem odd to most, but there is a fairly graphic torture scene where an urchin who’s been aiding Paul has the flesh skinned from his face. It’s not that I’m squeamish, but this part kind of feels out of place compared to the rest of the film. Otherwise, this stands as one of Gordon and Yuzna’s best efforts to date. It’s a shame we never got a follow up.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
"Dennis Hopper was arrested by Mexican police for wandering naked around a village near where the film was shooting. He was fired and replaced by Marjoe Gortner. He later said he had a drug problem at the time and didn't even remember being arrested, let alone being fired from the picture."
This has been described as the absolute worst Vonnegut adaptation ever. Somehow in my head that statement translates as "fucking amazing." Starring Jerry Lewis, Madeline Kahn, and Marty Feldman, everything about this just looks monstrously bad, but even in the most horrible wreckage can be found a sort of beauty. This could be a best of the worst contender.
Man, Carla Harris cannot catch a break! First, her good Samaritan husband gets gunned down by a big city criminal when he tries to break up an attack. Then, in a state of mourning, she decides to visit her parents' rural home to recover. Shortly after arriving, she is harassed and eventually gang raped by a gaggle of white trash who also kill her mom and dad. Fuck man, even "Death Wish"’s Paul Kersey managed to spread his bad luck out between several films. And if what will obviously wind up being some pretty heavy baggage wasn't enough, the sheriff shows no real interest in nailing the creeps who assaulted Carla and killed her folks! Grief turns to a thirst for vengeance which can only be quenched through brute vigilantism. I haven't seen this yet, but it has been described as better than your average rape/revenge flick, surpassing many of its predecessors, including "I Spit On Your Grave." Directed by exploitation powerhouse Cirio H Santiago, I’m sure this is bound to be pretty good. Check out the badass trailer, courtesy AussieRoadShow.