The Black Sleep.

The film starts off with a really creepy narration about a drug that induces, I assume, “The Black Sleep”… Making the man like a dead man but not of the dead.  Also not of the living?  Remains to be seen.  As always with the older pictures, the soundtrack is wonderfully bombastic and the set design and locations looks like they were well thought out.  We’ll see how the rest fares.  Basil Rathbone, John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr., Tor Johnson and Bela Lugosi all have roles in there, so it’s all a bit exciting.


Lovelock: Reginald LeBorg is a killer name… I’m just throwing that out there.


The story begins in a London prison in the late nineteenth century, were a dude, recently convicted of murder and whatnot, tries to explain to Basil Rathbone how he was framed.  Basil Rathbone gives the convict “THE BLACK SLEEP”, after which the authorities deliver the body to Rathbone.


[Convict wakes up at Basil Rathbones lair.]

Lovelock: So is he dead alive?  Or is he alive alive?

Starkwell: Does it matter?

Lovelock: To me, it does.

Starkwell: Alive dead.

[Convict sits up, Rathbone tells him everything, and tells him he has to become his assistant.]

Starkwell: I feel like something is gonna go wrong… otherwise where’s the movie?

Lovelock: I hope something goes wrong.  So far “The Black Sleep” is more like “Makes The Audience Sleep”.

Starkwell: Harsh.


The Convict’s name is Gordon Ramsay, which of course starts spurring all sorts of Chef Gordon Ramsay jokes (also saying things like “What a shame.”).


[They arrive at Rathbone’s super secret lab, and a woman is being chased by Lon Chaney… whose name is MUNGO.]

Lovelock: With a name like Mungo, what are the odds he would be a well adjusted fun-loving dude?

Starkwell: In 1872… was anyone well-adjusted and fun-loving?

Lovelock: Hookers.

Starkwell: ...

Lovelock: Farmers too.


Lovelock falls asleep during Rathbone and Ramsay’s breakfast conversation about Mungo and brain surgery.  Apparently Mungo used to be a guy named Dr. Monroe.  Rathbone wants Ramsay’s help to operate on Mungo and restore his Dr. Monroe-ness.  Why they would have started calling him Mungo, is beyond me.


Starkwell: Mungo… IS… Dr. Monroe!

Lovelock: You had to be loud, didn't you?  You had to wake me, didn't you?  Wait who’s Mungo?  So basically people were like, “woah Dr. Monroe has gone bananas, let’s stop calling him by his name, let’s call him MUNGO”?

Starkwell: It would be like if a guy went bald and everyone was like “no, he’s not him anymore, he shall now be known as SHINEHEAD”.

Lovelock: Might be your worst comparison of all time.


The story chugs along as Mungo continues to act like a guy named Mungo would act, and the Ramsay-Rathbone super surgery team cut into a dead dude’s brain.  There’s also a very old Lugosi playing a deaf-mute servant.  It’s kind of sad seeing him so frail, and playing such a minor role.  This was the last film he did before his passing.


[Rathbone is starting to not like Ramsay’s inquisitive nature.]

Starkwell: Why would you Black Sleep a smart doctor, if you’re basically looking for a helper monkey?

Lovelock: What? Sorry.  I couldn’t hear you over the sound of my BORED BRAIN CRYING FOR HELP.


[Ramsay has a horrible nightmare about dead people and the things he is helping Rathbone do.]

Lovelock: I won’t lie.  I wish he went all MUNGO on they asses.

Starkwell: There’s still time.

Lovelock: Ugh.  All this waiting for something to happen is making me go mungo.


Then there’s a long drawn out creepy scene where the artist gypsy guy from the beginning drugs a girl and robs (?) her.  I hope that’s all he’s planning.  Ramsay and the only female character in the movie with dialogue seem to be investigating what is really going on with Rathbone, but I couldn’t keep track of it all, and Lovelock was asleep again so there wasn’t any conversation happening worth documenting.


[John Carradine plays either a crazy guy, or someone who is like eight hundred years old.]

Starkwell: I should have been paying more attention.

[In a dungeon they find a dude with a horribly warped face, who attacks Ramsay, and a once beautiful woman whose face is covered with patches of hair.]

Starkwell: Yeah, I definitely should have been paying more attention.

[Tor Johnson walks in, playing, basically, Tor Johnson.]

Starkwell: Well he looks cool as always.


Honestly, Carradine fucking STEALS the show as an insane Gandalf.  His screaming wakes Lovelock up, who immediately yells out “YOU SHALL NOT PASS.


Lovelock: Rathbone has amassed a pretty nice freakshow of post-dead crazy people.

Starkwell: Post-dead?

Lovelock: Pre-zombie?

Starkwell: That’s a stretch.

Lovelock: I’m so mungo right now, you don't even know.


The Gypsy attempted to bring that girl to the doctor, but she was dead.  So, obviously, Rathbone decides to do his experiments on Female Lead.  The chain gang of crazy people, led by Insane Gandalf, comes out and eventually kills Mungo, sets fire to Rathbone’s nurse, and pushes Rathbone down a flight of stairs to his death.  So Ramsay and Female Lead walk away unharmed.  Then it ends immediately.  Not great.


Dead Men Don't Die.

If Starkwell and Lovelock thought they were ready for “Dead Men Don’t Die”, as soon as it started, they IMMEDIATELY knew that they weren’t ready for it.  Nothing could have prepared them for this intro.  The film opens up with a cheesy “funk” song with a montage of Elliot Gould working on his news program.  He is the anchor.  Then it cuts to him witnessing a drug deal gone BAD in a parking lot.  I should mention that it is hard, from a look standpoint, to differentiate between Elliot Gould in this movie and Michael Richards as Kramer.


[Gould runs into the Haitian cleaning lady who is a horrible collection of racial stereotypes, and then decides to investigate the drug deal he just witnessed.]

Starkwell: Anything for a scoop?

Lovelock: Well, that’s just dumb.

Starkwell: Of course her name is Chafuka.


The station director is all over them to get juicier stories so that they can get better ratings.  This is followed by a “comical” scene of them giving the news using EXTREME words like “shock” and “hooker”.  Honestly, the dialogue is hammy, but has a certain charm.  The music on the other hand has zero charm and is the worst synth soundtrack ever.


Starkwell: Filmed in 1990, feels like 1975.

Lovelock: But then those futuristic synth sounds bring you right back to the early 80s.


In his search for THE BIG SCOOP, Gould gets caught by the drug dealers he was investigating.   Gould tries to run away but the drug dealers chase him down.  He tells them that they have a "shot at the Barcelona Olympics".  Then they kill him.


[Gould’s co-anchor finds his dead body… WHAT A SCOOP.  She runs away to get her camera.]

Lovelock: Fucking journalists.

[Chafuka takes the corpse, because, obviously, she has been waiting her whole life for a corpse.]

Starkwell: Why is no one upset he’s dead?  Co-Anchor is happy to get the scoop, Aunt Jemima is happy to get a corpse, what the fuck?

Lovelock: Did you call her Aunt Jemima?  That’s way racist.

Starkwell: They started it.


Chafuka takes Gould to her voodoo layer, hidden behind the lockers in the boiler room to do voodoo on him and sing.  Meanwhile, there’s a goofy detective who has been put on the case of the missing body.  After more singing and voodoo, Gould rises.  Sadly, he is not himself.  He is essentially a monkey.


[Crappy synth song I can only assume is called “Back in the Land of the Living” (they say it a hundred times) plays while Chafuka drives Zombie Gould to her house on her crappy motorcycle.]

Lovelock: There is going to be an awful lot of DEERRRRRP in this sucker.

[Zombie Gould takes a bath, OH DERP, now he’s wearing a dress!]

Starkwell: You ain’t kidding.

Lovelock: Why does he have an afro now?


Chafuka apparently intends to be Gould’s zombie master, and make him do the news, and take all of his money.  She is telling everyone that she is his new manager.  It’s really stupid.  Really, really stupid.  Oh no!  The make-up girl has her work cut out for her!  Gould is unable to talk, so Chafuka talks into a voodoo doll, and it makes him say what she says.  So then he reports the news BADLY with a thick Haitian accent.  "Let's be talkin' 'bout dem news" and so on.  Did I mention that this is dumb?


Starkwell: That is officially the THIRD time that the mic' descended down into the shot.

Lovelock: Sign of a fantastic film.


[Gould kills the first drug dealer… accidentally?]

Lovelock: He is the worst zombie ever.

[Chafuka voodoos and sings to dead drug dealer.]

Lovelock: And now there are two of them.

[Drug Dealer Zombie #1 kills Drug Dealer #2, who is then voodooed into a zombie immediately.]


Co-Anchor and the Dumb Detective go around trying to figure out what is going on… I’m not sure why NO ONE ELSE is in the studio except for the main characters, but there’s a lot of dumb shit that happens, including kicking zombies in the nuts, a dude being electrocuted and dancing, zombies dancing, zombies driving, a zombie grabbing the detective in the nuts and a bunch of other crap.  Eventually the film ends with Chafuka and Dumb Detective taking over the news station using the zombies as their puppets.  Might have been good if wasn’t so boring, or so monumentally stupid.  Seriously, you don’t even know.


Let Sleeping Corpses Lie.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve waited this long to show SUCH a classic film to Lovelock and Starkwell.  But then again, I waited three hundred movies before showing them “Night of the Living Dead”.  The DVD starts with a strange talking head shot of the director rambling on about the films many titles and telling us that he hopes we have a bad time watching it.  And then the film starts IMMEDIATELY, no menu.  Starkwell and Lovelock had better be ready.


[Dude closes up his art gallery and takes of for the holidays on his motorcycle.]

Starkwell: Might be the coolest looking guy ever.

[Actor’s name… RAY LOVELOCK!]

Lovelock: Maybe I’m related!

Starkwell: He’s running an art gallery, not a fart gallery.

Lovelock: Nailed it.


Cool dude George travels through the city and, for whatever reason, the director decides to show a naked woman streaking though the city streets.  Eventually George makes it out of the city and hits the beautiful countryside.  George stops for gas, and a Redhead backs her car onto his bike.  Busts it up, and now he’s screwed. So then George tells Redhead “you’ll drive me where I need to go, and I’ll drive”.  Clearly he’s a man of action… he just goes for it.


[George RELUCTANTLY agrees to take Redhead to her sister’s before heading to Windermere.  With her car.]

Lovelock: Jeez George, don’t trouble yourself.

Starkwell: He’s pretty much kidnapped her at this point.


They end up at a creepy farm.  This is after we hear over the radio that agricultural experiments are going on around here.  George sees the scientists with their experimental pesticide machine and tells them that they’re polluting the Earth and whatnot.  The idea of experimental pesticides bringing back the dead is, frankly, pretty ahead of its time.  Back at the car, the lonely Redhead sees a zombie and FREAKS OUT.  As the zombie chases her, Lovelock FREAKS OUT, plays air guitar and then does a handstand while Starkwell cheers.


[Redhead’s sister is batshit crazy and lives with a creepy photographer.]

Lovelock: Eurotrash.

Starkwell: He’s taking photos of the waterfall at night?

[Redhead sister is readying her arm for heroine when she is attacked by a beardy zombie.]

Lovelock: Wow, just looking at the syringe is making her TRIP BALLS.

Starkwell: Nah dude, that ain't no trip, that’s a real zombie.

Lovelock: EXCELLENT.

[She leads the zombie to her photographer husband.  The zombie immediately bludgeons the husband in the head with a rock, and kills him.]

Lovelock: This turning out to be a real crappy day for George.

Starkwell: I’d argue that it’s a worse day for the photographer.

Lovelock: Best wife ever.


The cops aren’t letting George leave.  They also suspect that the sister, Katie, killed her husband, after they found her heroine stash.  All in all, the dialogue and acting aren’t bad.  George is pretty kick ass.  Rather than getting too uppity about getting to Windermere as planned, he decides to SOLVE THE MURDER MYSTERY with Redhead.


Lovelock: George is on the case!

Starkwell: I love that it’s her car, but George is the one that now drives every time.

Lovelock: She backed into his motorcycle.  Personally, I’d have her ride in the trunk.


[At the hospital, the newborn babies are being born with an almost HOMICIDAL RAGE.]

Lovelock: There’s no special effects there.  That’s a straight up zombie baby for real.

[Apparently the experimental pesticide makes pests go crazy and kill each other.]

Starkwell: Good God.  This movie rules.


Redhead and George continue to investigate what REALLY happened to Katie’s husband.  Redhead is convinced that a recently deceased homeless man committed the crime, George intends on setting her straight by going to the homeless man’s grave.  So… they go to the cemetery.


[George and Redhead are attacked by zombies.]

Lovelock: That’s why when the dead walk the earth, I never go to the cemetery.

Starkwell: The zombie groans are fucking terrifying.


George figures it all out.  The radiation from the experiment brought the dead back, because the nervous system goes on living after death.  And the zombies can revive other corpses with human blood, transmitting it like a virus.  I don’t know HOW he figured all that out, but he did.


[Zombies kill cop in the cemetery.  They eat his guts.]

Lovelock: This movie really has it all.  And I feel like every movie should have a guts eating scene.

Starkwell: Not sure if that type of scene can really fit in any movie.

Lovelock: Name me a movie.

Starkwell: “Million Dollar Baby”.

Lovelock: Are you kidding me?  Imagine if they all started eating her after she goes down in the ring?  Way better.


Meanwhile George tries to get the scientists to stop their experiments and Redhead goes back to her sister’s farm, only to be attacked, of course, by zombie photographer.  I belive her arm gets bitten.  She goes a bit bonkers.


[She drives up the street and gets out of her car.]

Starkwell: Why would she get out of her car?

Lovelock: Who knows.  This is the girl that backed into a motorcycle at a gas station.


The cops still aren’t convinced that there are zombies.  They still think George is the killer.  George very easily escapes police custody and rushes back to find Redhead.  Turns out she went to the hospital, which is where the morgue is, which is where the dead bodies are, which is where the zombies are now.  And so, everyone ends up at the hospital.  And now she is a zombie.


[Zombies tear open the lady receptionist's shirt, tear her breast clean off and then gut her.]

Starkwell: What is with the Spaniards and their insistence on stabbing/ripping/biting breasts in film?

Lovelock: Why mess with a good formula?

Starkwell: Wait what?


Then the cops show up at the hospital RIGHT as George finishes setting fire to all the zombies.  So they don’t see any zombies.  So they think he just massacred everyone.  So they kill George.  The film ends with the cop going home only to find ZOMBIE GEORGE!  Then zombie George strangles the cop and kills him.  It is a fucking bananas ending, terrifically depressing, and deeply satisfying, all at the same time.  But wait, where exactly is the Manchester Morgue?  Also, I guess he never made it to Windermere.


Shrunken Heads.

I don’t know much about the mid-nineties film “Shrunken Heads” other than the fact that Charles Band (and his Full Moon Pictures) is involved with it.  That COULD mean it’ll be good-bad, or could just as easily mean that it is straight up bad-bad.  The film starts with a bizarre fake movie review show starring two puppets.  It’s a little insane.  The puppets introduce the film, “Shunken Heads”.  Danny Elfman, of “The Simpsons Theme” did the theme for this film… and is apparently the director’s brother.  Weird.  Almost as weird as a puppet movie review show introducing the movie.


[A gang of bad boy teens led by a guy named BOOGER pushes a nerdy black kid off of his bike.]

Starkwell: Booger?

Lovelock: Is the guy on the bike Urkel?  I hope so.

Starkwell: I think that’s racist.  I’m not positive, but I think it is.

Lovelock: “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”


There’s something about Full Moon pictures releases from the mid-nineties… they have an almost magical quality to them.  And by magical, I mean truly abysmal.  The main character Tommy works at his dad’s corner grocery store, and he and his “sidekick” Bill, as well as their new friend Freddy (Urkel), head over to Mr. Sumatra’s magazine boutique to check out comics.


[Mr. Sumatra is from Haiti, and gives Bill, a self-proclaimed jelly-bean junkie, some sort of Haitian (I assume Voodoo) jelly-beans.]

Starkwell: I guess no one reminded these kids not to take candy from strangers.

Lovelock: From the looks of Bill, I think we can assume he takes a lot of candy.


While Tommy, Bill and Freddy read their comics and eat jelly beans (while sitting on what looks like a trash pile), the “gang” from earlier come back… I think they’re called the “VIPERS”.  Mr. Sumatra scares the gang off.


[Mr. Sumatra blows… pixie dust (?) on the “Vipers” car as they drive away and they crash into a tree.]

Lovelock: It’s hard to look mystical and tough when you essentially look like you just blew them a kiss.

Starkwell: Those New York City streets certainly look empty.


As Bill and Freddy walk the streets at night looking for adventure, Sally shows up at Tommy’s place and climbs up the fire escape to make out with him.  All the while, Starkwell and Lovelock are wondering where all of the people are on the streets, and why these kids’ parents don’t seem to give a rat’s ass that they are just wandering the New York streets at night alone.  Then the puppet show from earlier interrupts the scene and says “we’ll be right back” THEN COMES RIGHT BACK.  I guess this was made for TV.  This happens every twenty minutes or so for the length of the film.


Lovelock: I actually could have gone for some commercials right now.  Might have helped with the boredom.


[Tommy films the Vipers stripping a car and they get arrested, everyone except Vinnie.  Vinnie goes to see the MAFIA.]

Lovelock: Foiled by the comic book kids!

Starkwell: You’d think if they were backed by the mob they’d be doing better than stealing rims off an old lady’s car.

Lovelock: And you’d think they could get more professional looking gang t-shirts.

[The don, named Big Moe, and played by a woman (not sure why), snatches Freddy, Tommy and Bill.]

Lovelock: Alright, I don’t know who’s dying and who’s coming back through Mr. Sumatra black magic, but that shit needs to happen soon.

Starkwell: Why is he Mr. Sumatra?  Wouldn’t Mr. Haiti make more sense?

Lovelock: I think THAT is racist.

[Big Moe tells the Vipers to kill the kids.  They do.]

Starkwell: So they went from pushing a kid off a bike and stealing comic books to GUNNING DOWN CHILDREN.

Lovelock: And still, no sign of ANY of their parents.

[Later at the three-kid joint-funeral, attendance was low, with only Mr. Sumatra, Tommy’s dad and Tommy’s girlfriend Sally showing up.]

Starkwell: Harsh.  No one for Bill or Freddy.

[Then it cuts back to the puppet show for like two minutes and it sucks, even worse than the film sucks.]


Mr. Sumatran steals the kids from the mortuary, saws their heads off and starts boiling them up in a huge cauldron with a dead cat.  He shrinks their heads, puts on a bad ass cape and uses BLACK MAGIC VOODOO to re-animate their heads, tiny as they are.


[Mr. Sumatra throws the heads around the room to show them that they can fly… he trains them in… the ways of the force? Then the screen flashes “ONE YEAR LATER”.]

Lovelock: They trained for a year?

Starkwell: So they have mind powers and can shoot electricity?

[By the end of the year, they seem to be acting more like Mr. Sumatra’s slaves.  Then they fly through the city fighting crime.]

Lovelock: Is this fucking happening?

Starkwell: Why does Bill have vampire fangs now?

Lovelock: When they revived, they were themselves… but now they talk like killbots.  DA FUCK?


This movie makes no sense.  Bill no longer craves jelly beans, but rather eats people and sucks their blood?  Then Tommy goes spying on Sally while she sleeps.


[The two muggers that the HEADS killed suddenly get back up as zombies and start walking around.]

Lovelock: Now, THAT’s more like it.

[The zombies, instead of eating people, go around cleaning up litter…. And for some reason… farting a lot.]

Lovelock: I retract my previous statement.


At this point, the heads finally start going after the Vipers.


[Tommy zaps Sally’s head and shows her everything that he has been through, starting with his murder.]

Starkwell: Why would you want to show her Mr. Sumatra sawing their heads off?

[Tommy flies up her shirt, and rubs himself between her breasts and flies away.]

Lovelock: Classy, Tommy.  Classy.

Starkwell: He’s easily as much of a rapist as Vinnie.


Sally goes to see Mr. Sumatra and asks to see Tommy.  Then she opens her blouse and lets him fly in and stay there.  And the scene lasts like two minutes.  I believe it was Lovelock who wondered “WHERE ARE HER FUCKING PARENTS!?!?!”  Sometime shortly thereafter some Zombie Vipers come after Vinnie and he fights them, and they fart a lot.


Lovelock: Best line ever… “Are you ready for capital punishment… Haitian Style!”

Starkwell: Does anyone else find it creepy that Mr. Sumatra asked Sally if she was a virgin, and then asked her to go to his bedroom and dress up in a gown?

Lovelock: It is a touch creepy, yes.


Sumatra shows up with dressed-up Sally, the heads and a small army of zombies to take care of the remaining Vipers and Big Moe and his/her mob. After some complications and a terribly slow and long car chase (during which Freddy’s head gets run over, and Bill gets blown away by a shotgun) Tommy crashes through the windshield and flies directly into Vinnie’s mouth.


[Apparently the Zombies will continue to walk the Earth until they dissolve into a brown liquid.]

Starkwell: This movie is a brown liquid.

Lovelock: Nailed it.


So now, apparently, Sally is a high priestess of the voodoo and owns the flying heads, and she will use them to fight crime from now on...  I think.  The end.