30.10.11

Return of the Evil Dead.

Since we know that the first movie in the series ends on an extreme downer, with the implication that the world is about to end, I think it is safe to assume that, although this is technically a sequel, it’s more that it just uses the same world, with the same Blind Dead.  I don’t think that we’re about to pick up where we left off.  In this 1973 Amando De Ossorio epic, we will see if the "Return of the Evil Dead" can meet the standard that the "Tombs of the Blind Dead" set.  Another Blue Underground release which once again seems like a very good print… and it looks like they will need to read subtitles again.  It looks as though the direct translation would be “the return of the dead without eyes”.  Sounds like fun.

[...]

[Small village in Portugal, people are gathering and decorating the village for The Burning Festival, tom commemorate when they burn some knights alive, after setting fire to their eyes.  Then some kids throw rocks at a mentally challenged guy, and then kick him on the ground.]

Starkwell: They seem to have an endless supply of rocks.

Lovelock: They probably spent the morning gathering them, waiting for Murdo to peak his head around that corner.

[...]

[They get a beer at the bar.]

Lovelock: That is the most head I have ever seen on a beer.

Starkwell: I honestly thought it was a glass of milk.

[...]

[Murdo hides behind a rock and watches couple go at it, gets caught.]

Starkwell: They don’t seem to mind that he was peeping on them.

Lovelock: The way this village is run, I’m surprised they didn’t torch his eyes.

Starkwell: Or throw a sack full of rocks at him.

[...]

[Templars torture and sacrifice woman.]

Starkwell: Why do the Templars always cut open the boobies?

Lovelock: That’s where the best blood is.  Also the director probably likes showing boobies.

[...]

[Murdo cuts some boobies of his own to bring the Blind Dead back.]

Starkwell: Alright, I take back everything that I said.  Those kids were right to throw rocks at him.

Lovelock: That’s why I don’t trust the mentally challenged.

Starkwell: That is hands down the worst thing you’ve ever said.  And yeah, that's why.

Lovelock: In Portugal, men dance like ladies and have purses.

Starkwell: Maybe that's only during the burning festival.

[...]

As the blind dead start emerging from their tombs, we all remembered why the first movie was so cool.  The Templars look frightening as hell and the combination of the effective cinematography and the chilling soundtrack make their introduction in this movie just as startling as the first time around.  Then the Templars trample Murdo, because even evil undead knights hate that goofy bastard.

[...]

[Right after a quickie, Blonde Bimbo hears a knock at the door.]

Starkwell: Why on earth would the Blind Dead knock at the door?

Lovelock: Because they can’t see where the bell is…

Starkwell: Try again.

Lovelock: It’s the polite thing to do?

Starkwell: But they’re here for revenge.

Lovelock: Just because they’re vengeful, doesn't mean they're rude.  Shame on you.

[...]

Then there was the best “arm comes out from nowhere and grabs guy” gag ever, followed by a slow-motion horse chase scene shot in total DAY FOR NIGHT.

[...]

[Flyboy and Weirdface make a getaway.]

Starkwell: That car looks like one of those cars made for children.

Lovelock: Power wheels?  Man, the kids that actually had those were the worst.

[...]

[The Police Commissioner puts on sunglasses to get a better look at a girl’s ass through her nighty, and then plays charades with her while ignoring the townspeople’s phone call for help.]

Starkwell: …

Lovelock: …

[...]

At one point I couldn’t hear much except laughter, since, when the Templars came to kill the townspeople, we were shown about seventeen hundred shots of the Templars slowly walking through doors that we assume lead to places filled with people.  It looked insane.  No kill shots.  Just the Blind Dead walking into doors followed by screams.  For at least a million minutes.

[...]

[Townspeople get ready for the Templars.]

Starkwell: Pitchforks?  It’s the 1970s…  Is that the best they can do?

Lovelock: That’s a downgrade from the torches they had hundreds of years earlier.

Starkwell: Well, it doesn’t seem to be going as well this time.

Lovelock: This is totally where they got the idea for “Braveheart”.

Starkwell: Not sure what to make of that one.

[...]

[Townspeople start using fireworks like grenades.  Some townies make a getaway with Flyboy in his car.]

Starkwell: So, they were burned alive and returned hundreds of years later, but a Bottle Rocket can take one of them down?

Lovelock: POW POW POWER WHEELS. POW POW POWER WHEELS.

Starkwell: I bet they feel pretty silly for having punched Flyboy around earlier.

Lovelock: Soon, they’ll all be laughing at the hilarious misunderstanding. 

Starkwell: I’m pretty sure that soon, they’ll all be dead.

Lovelock: I hope so.

[...]

[Evil Mustache Duncan attempts to use young girl as bait to get around the Templars.]

Starkwell: I can’t believe he actually asked if she wanted candy.  And it worked.

Lovelock: Textbook.

Starkwell: Well, it didn’t work work… He still got super stabbed.

Lovelock: Textbook.

[...]

[Murdo peaks his head out of a hole, the Templars chop it off.  Blondie follows.]

Starkwell: So she sees his head chopped off, and decides to stick her head out the same hole?

Lovelock: I don’t think she was known in the village for her brains.

[...]

[Scarfy tried to rape Weirdface and gets killed by Flyboy.]

Starkwell: Why can’t we ever make it through one of these without a scene like that?

Lovelock: Probably the same reason we can’t make it through without seeing a booby cutting scene.

[...]

Although the ending is oddly positive for this one, it still left a bit of a sour taste in the mouths of Starkwell and Lovelock.  Thankfully there are two more films in the series to try and bring us back to the heights of the original.  As the Templars randomly deflate at the end, I can’t help but feel like our hopes for recapturing the magic of the first one has deflated a little as well.

28.10.11

Severed.

Having already said my spiel about Canadian productions, I will simply say that the idea of a zombie film set in the Canadian forest, with like lumberjacks, sounds pretty cool.  I know that this low-budget 2005 picture probably won’t re-invent the wheel, but regardless, I think it’s only fair that we give it a good old fashioned Starkwell and Lovelock try.  This DVD was packaged together with two other similar genre films.  Usually when a distributor bundles discs together, it’s because they can’t seem to unload them on their own.  Not really a good sign, but considering the price tag, how can we lose?  Well, I can think of a few ways.

[...]

[Activists have camp set up outside of deforestation operation.]

Starkwell: Occupy British Columbia.

[...]

It is clear that this movie is going to have a Green agenda, given that the trees bleed, seem to fight back and that the film is implying that pure evil emerges from the destruction of said old trees.  Lovelock and Starkwell seem happy with the message and the premise, Lovelock even stated that he is “fine with hippies so long as we don’t have to smell them.”  Starkwell noted how impressive the filming location looked and that the logging operation offered “great potential for saw-based kills.

[...]

[Many loggers and protesters have become zombies or been eaten.]

Lovelock: That’s why I don’t get involved.

Starkwell: Yeah, that’s why.

[...]

[Nerds in lab make nerdy nerd joke, cuts himself, turns zombie.]

Lovelock: That’s what you get for making a bad joke!

Starkwell: So, you take comedy a little too seriously.

Lovelock: The punishment fits the crime.

Starkwell: Harsh.

[...]

[Gate is blocking the bridge out of there.]

Starkwell: They have an enormous pickup truck… why are they worried about a little gate?

[Truck gets stuck in mud.]

Starkwell: Oh.

Lovelock: That is the worst pickup truck ever.

Starkwell: That’s like anti-product placement…

Lovelock: Totally… I’ll never buy a Chevy.

[...]

[They find another camp full of crazy homicidal trigger-happy loggers.]

Starkwell: I think it’s safe to say that cabin fever has settled in to this camp.

Lovelock: That guy is totally on “Glee”.

Starkwell: Why do you know that?

Lovelock: Sadly, he’s not very gleeful in this.

Starkwell: Yeah, cabin fever isn't the same as Saturday night fever.

[...]

[Rita and Tyler kiss and do it and stuff.]

Starkwell: What about the current circumstances is making them feel all sexy?

Lovelock: Maybe it’s the fresh mountain air.

[...]

[Turns out that Rita Vegan-Granolahemp caused the whole thing, when she spiked the tree.]

Starkwell: So wait, is deforestation bad, or is protesting bad?

Lovelock: Both, I guess.

[...]

This is a shining example of how to make a cheap zombie movie properly.  It is cookie cutter without being completely unoriginal, low-budget without ever looking too cheap, and a lot of fun without ever being overly stupid.  Don’t get me wrong, this movie has many problems, but if more of the saturated zombie genre films from recent years were made with this much care, I’d have a lot more DVDs on my shelf, and Lovelock and Starkwell would never sleep again.

26.10.11

Tales From the Crypt.

There have been numerous mutations of Tales from the Crypt, but tonight we are watching the 1972 Freddie Francis film.  I’ve explained to Starkwell and Lovelock that not every segment will actually be about zombie(s).  They just looked at me, quite frustratingly, and said, “well then what’s the point?”  Hopefully we will find one.

[...]

[The first segment features a murderous Joan Collins.]

Starkwell: I guess by ’72 they still hadn’t figured out how to make blood look better than that.

Lovelock: Wait, she killed him?  I thought she spread red and orange paint on him.

Starkwell: Why would she do that?

Lovelock: Who knows what the British do for Christmas?

[...]

[The second segment features an adulterer leaving his wife and kids to run away with another woman.]

Starkwell: Oh, thank heavens it was only a dream.

Lovelock: Or was it?

Starkwell: Honestly, I really don’t know.

Lovelock: Or was it?

[...]

The third segment features an evil asshole young’un and Peter Cushing as on old crazy widower.  The asshole guy is so concerned with the value of his Dad’s property that he pretty much ruins the old man’s life, even though he already lost his wife.

[...]

[Peter Cushing hears from his wife via his Ouija Board.]

Lovelock: Dancer?

Starkwell: Danger, you idiot.

[...]

[Asshole sends the old man hate mail.  Old man hangs himself. And then, a year later… Peter. Cushing. As a zombie.]

Starkwell: What kind of a grown man spends every Valentine’s Day with his father?

Lovelock: A dead man!

Starkwell: Wow.  That’s a lot of orange-red paint.

[...]

[The fourth segment features a greedy woman and her magic wish granting statue, her husband dies when she wishes for money.  It gets worse from there.]

Lovelock: See that’s why I never use magic statues.

Starkwell: Yeah, that’s why.

[...]

[The fifth segment features an old military man taking over a home for old blind dudes, cutting corners, and making their living conditions much worse.]

Starkwell: I don’t know that it was necessary for the blind guys to take it out on the dog.

Lovelock: But now they’re rewarding him with a nice treat!

[...]

All of the segments featured people getting their comeuppance in some way, some form of poetic justice.  As a result, this was one of the most satisfying films I have seen in a very long time.  But as Lovelock said “yeah, but it’s not really a zombie movie, now is it?”  I think it counts.  Peter Cushing made it count.

24.10.11

Day of the Dead 2: Contagium.

Nothing says exploitation like calling yourself a sequel to movie that you had nothing to do with.  To exploit the Romero title even further, the DVD opens with a preview for the original Day of the Dead.  Thanks Anchor Bay.  The movie hasn’t even started yet, and I already hate it.  On top of that, it took two people to direct it.  Wow.  Starkwell and Lovelock still care to give it a chance, so here we are.

[...]

[Flashback to the sixties, hospital in the midst of zombie outbreak.]

Starkwell: That is the worst Russian I’ve ever heard.

Lovelock: I don’t think they had sneakers like that in the sixties.

Starkwell: The acting is awful.

Lovelock: Maybe that’s how people really were back then.

[...]

Although they made fun, a lot, they did notice that there was a fair amount of killing going on.  But then a narrator started waxing philosophical and Starkwell shot milk out of his nose.

[...]

[The inmates find the Thermos.]

Starkwell: So, apparently a Thermos can sit for forty years on the ground in a "ravine" and look exactly the same, except for a little dirt on it.

Lovelock: Well, yeah, they’re magic after all.  They keep the hot stuff hot and the cold stuff cold.

[...]

As we get introduced to the different characters Starkwell and Lovelock agree that the film makers are trying way too hard to make the characters diverse.  The doctor seems cool enough though.

[...]

[Thermos opens, thing falls out.]

Lovelock: Is that a tampon?

Starkwell: Something tells me that we’ll never get an explanation.

[...]

[Attendant shuts lights off to the women’s cells.]

Starkwell: You can see the camera crew in the reflection!

Lovelock: They looked excited, that must have been a really good take for them.

[...]

[Doctor writes email.]

Starkwell: Why would he dictate the email out loud, while typing it?

Lovelock: So we can know what he is writing, DUH!

Starkwell: Yeah but... aw never mind.

[...] 

[Tampon shoots glowing stuff, gives them all coughs, eventually glowing things touch their foreheads.]

Lovelock: That’s why I never keep a tampon found in a forty year old Thermos.

Starkwell: There would definitely be more than just that one reason.

[...]

As the movie pushed forward and the main characters started turning and looking all gross, Starkwell couldn’t help but notice how often the extras in the movie would look at the camera.  Lovelock felt that there was at least three too many barf gags.  I missed the next half hour of their conversation, because I fell asleep.  It might have been from boredom or from the fact that Lovelock and Starkwell kept on repeating “Tonight, we sleep.”  I think I heard Starkwell mentioning at one point that, at the very least it was “admirable that the film makers haven’t resorted to showing random boobies just for sake.”   The movie focuses a lot on character development and story, which can be the recipe for a good zombie film, if the movie is well written.  Can you guess if this one is?

[...]

Lovelock: GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!

[I woke up.  Still, nothing is happening.]

[...]

[More philosophical narration.]

Starkwell: Seriously, this is embarrassing.

Lovelock: On the bright side I’m pretty sure they’re all going to die.

[...]

[Random bearded fat guy tells them whats going on.]

Lovelock: The story of the Tampon?

Starkwell: That’s the second worst Russian accent I’ve ever heard.

Lovelock: If he knows what’s going on, why would Beardy McFatass go there?

[Beardy McFatass is eaten.]

Lovelock: That’s why I never hang around people I know are about to turn into flesh-eating zombies.

Starkwell: Yeah, that's why.

Lovelock: I prefer mindless zombies to ones that hobble around making bad jokes and giggling like little school children.

Starkwell: Why would anyone think a zombie baby is a good idea?  It’s not, it’s the worst.

Lovelock: Dead Alive.

Starkwell: Ok, why would anyone OTHER than Peter Jackson think that they can pull it off?

[...]

There was one good scene, where the super zombie, that pretty much looks like a guy covered in bloody shit, has his limbs ripped off.  Starkwell said “finally”, Lovelock said “too little, too late.

[...]

[Zombies eating people outside.]

Starkwell: I think they just went to the mall and asked who wanted to be in their shitty movie.

Lovelock: They probably got paid in hot dogs.

Starkwell: They got ripped off.

Lovelock: Who?

Strakwell: Everyone.  Especially us.

Lovelock: I was going to say that their performances were probably more worth a Tootsie Roll, or one of those bags of peanuts you get on an airplane.

Starkwell: I usually take the blue chips.

[...]

A low budget piece of shit like this can sometimes get away with calling itself a zombie movie if it has enough zombie action, or a good story, or good acting, or good dialogue.  Although there was a fair amount of gore (albeit poorly realized), this one does not have enough of any of those things, and what action it does have, takes far too long to arrive.  It’s also well over an hour and a half, which is an absolute eternity for this sort of movie.  It certainly does not have anything to make it worthy of the “Day of the Dead” moniker.  In conclusion, fuck you, "Day of the Dead 2: Contagium”.

22.10.11

C.H.U.D.

Some movies come along and change everything.  I don’t think that 1984’s “C.H.U.D.” was such a movie, really.  But it did give us the expression CHUD, so there is that to think about.  The film was directed by Douglas Cheek, who apparently never directed anything else again.  Maybe he set the bar too high for himself, or maybe, just maybe, it is so bad he retired forever.  I’m anxious to let Lovelock and Starkwell loose on this Anchor Bay release.

[...]

[Woman gets pulled into a sewer by a nasty hand.]

Lovelock: That’s why you’re never supposed to go near a sewer that has steam coming out of it.

Starkwell: Wait, you’re not?  Oh and, yeah, that’s why.

[...]

[Cop girl rolls her eyes.]

Starkwell: She looked at the camera.

Lovelock: Thrice.

[...]

John Heard is incredible.  They said it, and I agree.

[...]

[Cop stops following them because it’s too smelly.]

Starkwell: That’s some great police work…

Lovelock: No wonder the CHUDs are on the rampage.

[...]

When they revealed the homeless guy’s wound, Lovelock regretted that he was eating a smooth and spicy green curry.

[...]

[Bosh and Rev venture into the sewer.]

Starkwell: Finally, a cop that isn’t afraid of a little smelly.

Lovelock: Do you mean the smell of the sewer or of the Reverend?

[...]

[CHUD eats man.]

Lovelock: Should this really count as a zombie movie?

Starkwell: They look gross and eat people.  So, that's definitely a start.

Lovelock: That girl looked at the camera again.

Starkwell: That nuclear expert guy kind of looks like a zombie...

Lovelock: You think the Ninja Turtles got their idea from this?

Starkwell: You mean the people who created the Ninja Turtles?

Lovelock: No one created them, idiot, they’re not real.  Pfff…

Starkwell: I hate you.

[...]

Daniel Stern is incredible.  They said it, and I agree.

[...]

[Guy in polo shirt swallows Rev’s quarter, for no reason.]

Starkwell: What the hell was the point of that?

Lovelock: I guess if you can afford Lacoste polo shirts, you don’t mind wasting a few quarters.

Starkwell: I don't think they were as expensive back then.

Lovelock: Like you know.

Starkwell: And you do?

[...]

[EPA guy has a plan.]

Starkwell: How can you gas the sewer?

Lovelock: Do you have a better idea?

[...]

Starkwell: I think they just threw dirt into Daniel Stern’s face before every scene.

Lovelock: Probably helped him get into character.

[...]

[While unclogging drain with coat hanger blood spits everywhere.]

Lovelock: That’s why I always just leave drains clogged.

Starkwell: So that’s why I always have to unclog the toilet?

[...]

Then John Goodman was in the movie for five seconds.

[...]

[Kid pulls on doorknob.]

Starkwell: If something was mysteriously banging on the basement door, no kid in all of history would ever pull on the handle.

Lovelock: Well, no smart kid anyways.

[...]

[Homeless man who was previously bitten has gone CHUD.]

Lovelock: Zombie movie!  Officially!

[...]

[Girl kills CHUD.]

Starkwell: Are we really supposed to believe that she could actually cut through a CHUD neck?

Lovelock: Are we really supposed to believe that she could be a perfume and / or undiewears model?

[...]

[Van’s tire dips into manhole, van explodes.]

Starkwell: Wait… what?

Lovleock: I’d hate to drive in Boston if a pothole really could do that.

[...]

Great cast, great story, great action. Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers for the win.  They’ve asked me to find C.H.U.D. II, especially since it’s unclear what really happens to the CHUDs at the end of this.

20.10.11

Biozombie.

There weren’t too many zombie films produced in the 90s.  As a result, the ones that were produced have a much bigger hole to fill, unlike the saturated 2000s or the gory excess of the 70s and 80s.  In 1998, a film from Hong Kong, "Bio-Zombie", directed by Wilson Yip, splashed onto the scene with extreme hilarity.  Let’s find out what the guys have to say about it.  Start movie.  Subtitles on. Language original. TOKYO SHOCK!!!!!!!

[...]

[Introducing the main characters and their phenomenal bromance.]

Starkwell: Are they supposed to be the same age?

Lovelock: Who cares, they’re sooooo cool!

Starkwell: But, they’re two grown dudes, hanging around the mall.

Lovelock: Totally.  I bet you like the nerdy sushi chef.

[...]

Starkwell and Lovelock then got into a discussion, one I’ve heard before, about how Chinese people are just naturally funnier than us.  They got really off topic, and somewhere between “Aces Go Places” and “God of Cookery”, I brought them back to the movie at hand.  Seriously though, they’re right.

[...]

[Some deal between military and sketchy mafia types.  Zombie gets loose.]

Lovelock: That’s why I never deal with the Indian Mafia.

Starkwell: I really don't think that they were Indian.

[...]

[Woody and Bee are responsible for the zombie outbreak in the mall.]

Starkwell: Hit a guy with car, feed him mysterious soda pop, see him be dead in trunk, give nerd purple nurple, play video games… The recipe for disaster.

Lovelock: The recipe for entertainment.

[...]

[Bee takes picture.]

Lovelock: Is that a Gameboy Color?

[...]

Starkwell was impressed with the use of a negative color scheme for the zombie point of view.  Lovleock was impressed with how intense it has already gotten.

[...]

[Zombie Sushi Nerd brings present to Rolls.]

Starkwell: The whole “Frankenstein’s Monster” thing never works in a zombie movie

Lovelock: Yeah, it’s soooo unrealistic.  Like that would happen when the zombies come.

[...]

[It’s Bee’s birthday, Woody forgot.]

Lovelock: The piano music is touching.

Starkwell: I should hate these characters, but I don’t.  I love them.

[...]

[Zombie Sushi Nerd kills cop.]

Starkwell: Did you ever notice how much dust flies off of people when they get smacked, in Hong Kong cinema?

Lovelock: It’s called awesome powder.

[...]

Lovelock and Starkwell were just sitting back and enjoying this thoroughly entertaining movie.  They were no longer saying very much, they were mostly repeating lines from the movie, choice lines like “You’re a piece of shit!”, “I was taking a dump!”, “Eat shit!”, and of course, “Everybody grab a weapon!”  These may sound generic enough, but when you see those words float across the screen in their beautiful context, it’s truly amazing.

[...]

[Montage of zombie killing.]

Lovelock: Which is your favorite?

Starkwell: I don’t know.  There are so many kills to choose from…

Lovelock: I feel like a kid in a candy shop!

Starkwell: I think the the results are in.

Lovelock: Drill in the mouth.  Unanimously.

[...]

They might get mad when I say this, but when the pair had to part ways, they both cried. 

[...]

[The movie gets real.  Mad real.]

Lovelock: Man, it’s all silly and then BAM, they hit you with the intensity and depressing ending.

Starkwell: I tip my hat to you, Wilson Yip.

[...]

All in all, they one hundred and ten percent loved this movie, although Lovelock thinks it would have been better if the Sushi Nerd was eliminated from the movie entirely and replaced with more footage of Bee and Woody being hilarious.  One of Hong Kong’s few entries in the genre, and an absolute gem.

18.10.11

Dead and Breakfast.

The new millennium has seen countless upon countless zombie films.  This partly because of the success of films like the "Dawn of the Dead" remake, "Shaun of the Dead" and of course, "28 Days Later", and partly because it’s cheap, and shitty filmmakers think that they don’t need a good story, good acting, good characters or to provide a reason to watch the film other than “look, there are zombies in it”.  It is with all of this in mind that I approach "Dead and Breakfast", a 2004 romp from writer / director Matthew Leutwyler.  Hopefully it does not join the ranks of the unwatchables.  Lovelock and Starkwell are cool either way.

[...]

[Interesting opening credits, featuring hand drawn sketches of zombies being killed...]

Starkwell: Cool intro, but now I’m worried that they are setting the bar too high.

Lovelock: If we have learned anything, then they clearly are.

[...]

[They pass a sign that says LOVELOCK.  Apparently that’s the town.]

Lovelock: What the... ?!?!??! ... Well, no matter how this turns out, they get credit for the name.

Starkwell: Except that the pill popper guy just called it Lovecock…

Lovelock: Hopefully he dies soon.

[...]

[Musician guy narrator sings the narration.]

Starkwell: That’s going to get pretty old.

Lovelock: I might have to change my name at the end of this.  Or at least find and destroy all record of this movie.

[...]

[Gang arrives at sketchy bed and breakfast.]

Starkwell: Why would there be a French chef at a middle of nowhere southern bed and breakfast?

Lovelock: Why would the guy from Kung-Fu be there.

Starkwell: Hopefully not to masturbate.

Lovelock: Dude... Too soon.

[...]

As the movie plowed ahead, Starkwell and Lovelock were amazed at the number of recognizable faces in the film.  The soundtrack and dialogue are a little hammy, but the actors manage to make it work… almost.  One thing they both agree on, the honky tonk narrator is the worst part about this movie.  And that many of the jokes don’t work, no matter how hard the actors try and sell them.  Seriously, I’d say one out of ten of the jokes end up working.  Also that Portia De Rossi’s scene looks like it was lifted from another movie.  It probably was.  Also, even in whatever movie it may have been lifted from, in that movie, it was a phoned in performance.

[...]

[MORE OF THE FUCKING HONKY TONK GUY.]

Starkwell: I’m beginning to think maybe he wrote this movie, or at least funded it.

Lovelock: That or “introducing the director’s brother” or something.

[...]

The increasing number of bad redneck jokes and annoying music was getting really old, but then everyone started dying and Starkwell exclaimed “THANK YOU”.  But even as the so-called zombie mayhem continued, redneck stereotypes were still flying everywhere, along with Honky Tonk Narrator’s increasingly annoying soundtrack.  However, according to Lovelock “The gore is decent”.

[...]

[Nerd Zombie Master uses severed head as a puppet.]

Lovelock: Lame.

Starkwell: Like this movie.

[...]

[Honky Tonk Narrator raps.  Zombies line dance.]

Starkwell: Fuck this, I’m out.

Lovelock: Maybe we can mute it, and wait for the gore to come back…

[...]

Starkwell really left.  The following are Lovelock’s solo comments.

[...]

Lovelock: Black magic no erasies!

[...]

Lovelock: Aw come on, movie!  Don’t name drop Haiti like that makes you some kind of cool zombie film.

[...]

Lovelock: When it comes to lamest character in cinematic history, Honky Tonk Narrator has some competition… the Navy Seal Librarian.

[...]

Lovelock: I wish I had left with Starkwell.

[...]

Well in the end, they didn’t bring total shame to the Lovelock name, but they did bring a fair amount of shame.  It’s as close to total shame as possible.  Near complete shame.  The people behind this film clearly love the genre, and love gore, and love trashy cinema, and love weapon making montages.  But loving trashy cinema doesn’t make you a film maker.  And how could anyone think that Honky Tonk Narrator was a good idea?

17.10.11

The Last Man on Earth.

There have been three adaptations of Richard Matheson’s novel “I Am Legend”.  The first of these was a 1964 Vincent Price vehicle, entitled “The Last Man on Earth”.  Apparently an influence on the Romero classic “Night of the Living Dead”, Price’s star power alone should be enough to get some good interest from Starkwell and Lovelock.  The DVD is a beautiful looking MGM release.

[...]

[Dr. Morgan finds a dead body then has a cup of tea.]

Starkwell: Wait, what does he need garlic for?  Is this a zombie movie or a vampire movie?

Lovelock: I think it’s up to us to decide.

Starkwell: Is that a wooden stake?

Lovelock: Maybe he’s making a table…

[...]

Their discussion about vampire vs. zombie went on a little longer, but eventually shut up when they realized how cool Vincent Price is, and decided, “Who really cares?” From now on I will refer to them as zombies.

[...]

Lovelock: If I was the last man on earth, I don’t think I would have such a finely groomed mustache.

[...]

[Morgan puts on some jazz and gets drunk.]

Lovelock: My kind of party.

Starkwell: Drinking alone with creepy zombies calling out your name all night?

Lovelock: It beats what we’re doing.

[...]

[Morgan falls asleep in a church, wakes up after dark, when the zombies come out.]

Lovelock: That’s why I never sleep at church.

Starkwell: You don’t even go to church.

Lovelock: You're right.  That's why I never go to church.

Starkwell: Sure.  That's why.

[...]

The way the zombies shuffle around the house slowly, you can see what kind of influence this had on Romero.  Starkwell and Lovelock are captivated.  It would seem that Matheson himself had a hand in the script, but changed his name in the credits when dissatisfied with the finished product.  So far, as Starkwell has said, “I don’t see why.” It probably makes more sense if you've read the book.

[...]

[Morgan watches home video of his family, now deceased.]

Lovelock: Why is he laughing… oh… wait… never mind.

Starkwell: That is, without a doubt, the BEST laugh-to-cry ever filmed.

[...]

[Very long flashback sequence that shows the beginning of the end.]

Starkwell: Did they have to pick a kid with such an annoying voice and lack of teeth?

Lovelock: Don’t worry.  She won’t be around much longer.

Starkwell: Dude… harsh.

Lovelock: She gets to miss school?  You think she’s fakin’?

Starkwell: Alright, that’s definitely enough about the kid.

[...]

The black and white shots of bodies being thrown into the pit of fire are disturbingly effective, the slow progression of his wife and daughter's illness is terrifying, and as Lovelock puts it, Vincent Price “sells every shot, HARD.

[...]

Lovelock: If I was the last man on earth, I would not wear such perfectly pleated pants and sweater vests.

[...]

[Morgan sees a live dog.]

Lovelock: MMMmmmmmm dinner!

Starkwell: I don’t think that’s why he’s excited.

[...]

[Morgan sees a girl.]

Lovelock: MMMmmmm dinner!

Starkwell: Again, not sure if that's why he's excited.

Lovelock: It should be.

Starkwell: She seems pretty nonchalant, just out for a leisurely stroll, sometime after the apocalypse.

Lovelock: The sixties were a simpler time.

Starkwell: I’m not sure what that means. 

Lovelock: I’m wondering where she got the tweed skirt and makeup after the apocalypse.

[...]

[Morgan shoves garlic in her face.]

Lovelock: That’s no way to treat a guest.

Starkwell: Rude.

[...]

[Girl threatens Morgan.]

Lovelock: That’s no way to treat your host.

Starkwell: Rude.

[...]

Twists and turns aplenty, this story kicks ass.  Although the infected are even referred to as vampires, Starkwell and Lovelock have decided beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are, in fact, zombies.  They both noticed that even when Price is playing a nice guy, he is still creepy.  Maybe more creepy.

[...]

[The new world order comes for Morgan.  Morgan heads to the church.]

Lovelock: Well that's dumb.  Nothing good can come from ging to church.

Starkwell: Wait, why are they all dressed in black?

Lovelock: Maybe they’re beatniks.

Starkwell: Maybe this movie has a bit of an agenda.

[...]

The film ends very suddenly, Lovelock and Starkwell applaud.  I can understand why a lot of people point to this as an important film in the genre.  Almost fifty years old, this movie is still stunning.  It helps that Vincent Price is that cool.

14.10.11

Maniac Cop.

Since his film “Maniac” earned him some horror street cred after dabbling in porno, William Lustig never strayed too far from that formula.  This 1988 work “Maniac Cop” (even found a way to re-use the 'Maniac' moniker) is supposed to be pretty ridiculous.  Genre hero Tom Atkins is in this one, so it promises to at least deliver on the acting front.  Larry Cohen, who wrote and directed the fantastic 1985 epic “The Stuff”, wrote and produced the film.  So, that’s a good sign too.  Lovelock and Starkwell anxiously wait for me to press play as the cheapest looking menu ever repeats itself over and over again on this Legacy Entertainment release. “Play Movie” or “Scene Selection”?  Play movie.

[...]

[Maniac Cop asks guy to get out of the vehicle, then kills him.]

Lovelock: That’s why I never cooperate with the police.

Starkwell: Yeah, that’s why… wait… you never cooperate with the police?

[...]

[Richard Roundtree is the chief.]

Starkwell: Making a police film in the eighties… Step one, cast sassy black man as the chief of police.

Lovelock: I’m pretty sure step two involves a main character with a checkered past.

Starkwell: Most likely he “shot a kid” or something like that.

Lovelock: Oh, he had a toy ray gun, it looked real enough.

[...]

As the movie presses forward, we get many more KILLS, some sweet character development, and a seemingly terrific detective storyline.  Lovelock and Starkwell are hooked.  There were several instances where either one of them would say something about how rad Tom Atkins is.  And for some reason, they kept saying “THRILL ME”.  They did start asking whether or not the Maniac Cop was a zombie though. 

[...]

[Ladies and gentlemen, Bruce Campbell.]

Lovelock: Show his face, fuck!

Starkwell: Seriously, why wouldn’t they cash in on that chin?

Lovelock: Oh shit yeah! There it is.

[...]

[Campbell is framed for Maniac Cop killings.]

Lovelock: That’s why you should never commit adultery.

Starkwell: Yeah, forget love and morals, it’s the potential of your spouse being murdered and you being framed for it.

[...]

[Maniac Cop’s hands are cold and huge, and apparently he isn’t breathing.]

Lovelock: And he got shot a bunch of times and walked away? Sounds like a zombie to me!

Starkwell: Or Rambo.

[...]

[We get some back-story on Maniac Cop.

Starkwell: Detective guy figured all of that out pretty quickly, and doesn’t seem too bothered by the fact that his explanation involves a roaming dead guy.

Lovelock: Tom Atkins doesn’t need rational explanations.

[...]

There was a long jail flashback sequence, mostly in slow motion that involved a brutal naked shower murder, which managed to avoid any accidental side peen.  As Lovelock said “that’s an accomplishment right there”.  Tom Atkins was thrown out a window, but since Campbell’s still alive kicking ass, we can assume the rest of this movie can still kick ass.  Although, Starkwell wondered “is Bruce Campbell is wearing eye liner?

[...]

[Vice Squad Girl is still made up like a hooker days after she is off duty.]

Starkwell: So that wasn’t her undercover costume, she really dresses like a hooker all the time?

Lovelock: It was the eighties and crimped hair was all the rage.

Starkwell: Sadly, for us, so was bad acting.

Lovelock: And bad synth soundtracks.

Starkwell: I really miss Tom Atkins.

[...]

The movie ended with one of the coolest stunts I have ever seen, and a cliffhanger ending.  Good times were had by all.  Lovelock and Starkwell absolutely would like to check out the rest of the series.

12.10.11

Horror Express.

Sometimes good movies are forgotten.  No one sees them for years at a time, until one day they show up on some kind of fifty-in-one movie pack that you see at a store, used, for five dollars.  Was it worth the five dollars?  If you can go even two good films out of fifty, I say you’ve gotten your money’s worth.  This is the first one we are trying off of this particular fifty pack.  It’s a 1972 picture involving a train, a frozen and soon to be re-animated corpse, and, apparently, Kojak before Kojak.  And Peter Cushing. And Christopher Lee.  The movie is Horror Express.  Let’s see if we are one for fifty.

[...]

Lovelock: His character is named Kazan? That’s even cooler than Kojak!

[...]

[Professor Saxton finds a frozen body thing.]

Starkwell: In the seventies, anthropologists have mustaches!

Lovelock: I would imagine so, since this story is based on true events.

Starkwell: But…

[...]

[Cut to horrible Chinese stereotypes, and a white guy playing a Chinese man, racistly.]

Starkwell: Clearly they couldn’t find an actual Chinese actor that would have done that good of a job.

[...]

We are then introduced to a wide array of characters, from a random rich and snooty French woman with a poodle, to a chess playing Russian, a German engineer, even to some eastern European broad willing to sell her body for a ticket aboard the HORROR EXPRESS.   Granted, as Lovelock points out, they don’t know it’s the Horror Express… yet.  As Starkwell said, "It is definitely the Racial Stereotype Express".

[...]

[Recently thawed out and escaped zombie / mummy / demon / caveman / thing uses its glowing red eyes to explode someone’s brain, turn their eyes white and make blood ooze out of his eyes, ears, and nose.]

Starkwell: I don’t think that’s a zombie.

Lovelock: Zombie or not, I like his style.

[...]

They spent the next twenty minutes or so discussing whether or not it was a zombie, and whether or not this counts as a zombie movie.  They missed some of the story, but in the end decided that it counts, especially given his kill power.  From now on, we’ll just say zombie, albeit a zombie with super powers.

[...]

[Shortly after performing an autopsy in a tuxedo, the doctor retires to his quarters.]

Starkwell: He just touched a smooth dead brain… he isn’t going to wash up before trying to get it on with Shiny McDressy Skirt?

Lovelock: Well, he did change into an awesome robe.

[...]

[Doctor Bathrobe gets attacked, sees dead girl.  Zombie gets shot, goes down hard.]

Lovelock: Something tells me that this isn’t over.

Starkwell: Well, Sherlock, there is an hour left.

[...]

The plot got a little more convoluted and wacky, and we were given a lot of close-up shots of people looking INTENSE.  I won’t spoil exactly what happened, but Starkwell and Lovelock laughed real hard at the line “it’s a brontosaurus!!!” and decided to repeat it frequently.

[...]

[Crazy priest talks crazy, and everyone rolls their eyes.]

Starkwell: Given what they just witnessed, should they really be rolling their eyes at him?

Lovelock: “There’s a rational explanation” says the professor.  “Oh yeah, what is it?” asks the priest.  “Well… I don’t know” replies the professor.  In conclusion, OWNED!

[...]

[The possessed detective has a suddenly hairy gorilla arm.]

Starkwell: Considering the doctor and professor are supposed to be so smart you would think they would notice the detective’s abnormally hairy hand.

Lovelock: It’s not nice to make fun of people’s differences.

Starkwell: Yeah but, he wasn’t like that before…

Lovelock: They're not the detectives here.  Besides, he’s Russian.  Aren’t they hairy?

Starkwell: In this movie?  Probably.

Lovelock: Based on true events.

Starkwell: It’s a brontosaurus!

[...]

[Then Telly Savalas shows up, one hour or so into the film… even though he is on the cover front and center.  And he’s some kind of bad dude.]

Lovelock: Who loves ya baby?

Starkwell: Not sure, but he seems to love overacting.

Lovelock: His accent’s a little inconsistent.

Starkwell: This movie’s a little inconsistent.

Lovelock: It’s a brontosaurus!

[...]

In a whirlwind of bad cinematography and awkwardly cut music and sound effects, the newly possessed priest wipes out most of the train, and then creates a zombie army.  Lovelock and Starkwell already sounded pretty unanimously satisfied with the entire thing, but the zombie heavy ending made them jump out of their seats.  In short, who cares about consistency and detail when the film is this much fun?  Also there’s a big explosion at the end, so, that’s pretty cool.

10.10.11

Pontypool.

Being Canadian, I take a great deal of pride in Canadian productions.  I love the “Kids in the Hall”, dug the “Trailer Park Boys”, and am so proud of “Kenny Vs. Spenny”.  That being said, it doesn’t mean that I’ll like something just because it’s Canadian.  The original “Degrassi” makes me feel all icky inside, I don’t understand the appeal of “Corner Gas” or the “Red, Green Show” AT ALL, and, amazing theme song aside, “The Littlest Hobo” makes me want to blow my brains out.  Why am I telling you this?  Well, I’m about to have Lovelock and Starkwell watch Bruce McDonald’s 2008  Canadian Production, “Pontypool”, that’s why.  Let’s see if this is one to make us proud, or make us feel great shame for our Northern roots.

[...]

[CREEPY DRIVING OPENING SCENE FULL OF SNOW.]

Lovelock: You know it’s illegal to not have winter tires in Quebec now?

Starkwell: Why would you say that right now?

Lovelock: I’m trying to distract myself from how scared I already am.

Starkwell: You know it doesn’t always snow in Canada, eh?

[...]

The film proceeds to introduce us to the main characters, with dialogue, acting and directing that is as good as it gets.  No sign of a zombie outbreak yet, but the mood is definitely bleak, and they continue to hint that crazy shit is going down, in the small Ontario town of Pontypool.  Creepy shots of snow accompanied by a terrifying soundtrack aplenty, Starkwell commented on how scary everything looked and felt and then basically shushed Lovelock any time he would try to say anything, not wanting to miss any dialogue in this dialogue driven movie.  I may have shushed them a few times too, because, damn, the main character Mazzy is SO COOL.

[...]

[Horrible zombie attack is described via a radio correspondant.]

Lovelock: So, are they not going to show us any zombie action?

Starkwell: If it’s all as effective as that, I don’t think that they need to.

Lovelock: You’re probably right, since well, I just sharted.

Starkwell: Nothing to be ashamed of, I’m pretty sure I just peed.

[...]

[Radio show takes calls from crazy people, and attack victims.]

Starkwell: I definitely just peed.

Lovelock: I think I might try and watch the movie from the toilet.  I can’t afford to soil any more pantaloons.

[...]

[Dr. Mendes starts explaining what is going on.  The English language is the problem.]

Starkwell: Well, now I’m both confused and scared.

Lovelock: I kind of want to stop talking, just in case.

Starkwell: I kind of want you to stop talking too.

Lovelock: Devrons-nous continuer en Fran├žais?

Starkwell: I really want you to stop talking.

[ENTER CRAZINESS.]

Starkwell: TABARNACLE!

Lovelock: Well, thankfully I was already on the can for that one.

Starkwell: I think this movie should come with a warning.

Lovelock: I think this movie should come with a diaper.

[...]

Although actual zombies are barely ever shown, this is one of the best zombie films I have ever seen.  Yes.  It’s that good.  It’s also further proof that a good zombie film has little to do with zombies.  It helps that the closing line was incredible.  As the credits rolled, Starkwell and Lovelock held hands and claimed that they will remember this moment forever.  Oh Canada.