Now Playing: CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER
Thanks to Tolemite for visiting this weekend and giving us all a great time. It seems as though everyone around gets Toler Fever when we've gone too long without a visit from him. Chicken, Stiner and Grady came out for a night with Toler last night, which started later than anticipated since he didn't make it to Champaign until about 9:30pm. We had to start Crappy Movie Night without him, which had us in good humor by the time he arrived. Here's a quick rundown on what we subjected ourselves to:
* THE UNSEEN--one of the sleaziest and strangest horror films I've seen, this low-budget laugher alternates between suspense and unintentional hilarity so frequently that each rental should come with Dramamine enclosed. Beautiful Barbara Bach (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME) stars as a TV reporter who makes the acquaintance of eccentric but kindly little Sydney Lassick (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST), who invites her and her hot friends to stay with him and his wife Virginia at their huge old house in the country. Cult movie fans know better than to enter a creepy old house owned by Sydney Lassick, since I've never seen him play anybody even close to a normal human being. Not surprisingly, there's something else living in the house too: an "unseen" antagonist dwelling in the Kellers' cellar. THE UNSEEN certainly offers its share of distasteful moments and uncomfortable horror, and I think it's a pretty effective sleeper. Lassick's performance really sells the absurdity of the third act, which has some pretty crazy stuff in it, well directed by Peter Foleg and scored by Michael Lewis.
* MUTANT HUNT--Tim Kincaid (BREEDERS) directed this cheapass ripoff of BLADE RUNNER that contains the lamest fight scenes you've ever seen. Rick Gianisi (SGT. KABUKIMAN, N.Y.P.D.) plays the world’s wimpiest mercenary with a badass mercenary name, Matt Riker, who fights robots in his tighty whiteys. Three out-of-control cyborgs are on the run with a belt of an illegal sex-enhancing drug called Euphoron, which causes them to turn into mad killing machines. Sets and set dressing are terrible; Riker’s apartment consists of three partial brick walls, a bed, a table, a punching bag and a few random weapons hanging on the walls. Barely a notch above the cheap sets is the lame stuntwork and fight choreography; the fight scenes look as though they’re being performed by 11-year-olds acting out old BATMAN episodes in the backyard. Barely 75 minutes long, MUTANT HUNT is definitely worth watching if you’re in the mood to laugh at inept filmmaking.
* THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, "Crime Wave"--With Toler getting close to Champaign, I popped this 25-minute TV episode in to keep us entertained 'til he arrived. It's probably one of the last filmed episodes of the first season, since it contains a shitload of stock footage. A lot of it is clips of Superman (George Reeves) beating the shit out of thugs in fedoras, so that's cool. Superman, with the help of the Daily Planet, police inspector Henderson (Robert Shayne), and a crusading attorney, is on a mission to capture Metropolis' ten most wanted gangsters. The mystery man at the top of the list organizes a deathtrap for Superman involving a locked room and lightning bolts that zap Supes. What's funny is how much shit Superman talks to the bad guys after he plays possum and kicks all their asses: "I can't believe you actually thought your lameass little electrical trap could stop me. I'm Superman, you assholes."
* HOLLYWOOD COP--A pseudo-sequel to SAMURAI COP, one of the most hilariously inept movies ever made, by the same director, Iranian idiot Amir Shervan. I think it was written as a direct sequel, but Shervan couldn't get the same cast back. It's not quite as crazy as SAMURAI COP and it has more dead spots, but, man, when it cooks, it really cooks. A pissed-off Cameron Mitchell, an embarrased Troy Donahue, a drunk Jim Mitchum and a confused Aldo Ray (playing a Chinese!) comprise the "name" cast. Highlights include "I know that guy fucked your wife", hot oil wrestling, blood cancer, "yeah, he's a good cop", and Mitchell's gas attacks. You gotta see it.
* SATAN'S CHILDREN--This schizophrenic regional (Florida) horror movie is one of Toler's all-time favorites, and it was fun to introduce it to the rest of the gang. It has some bad acting, pretty outrageous story twists and a slow-going second act, but, man, the opening and closing reels are really laughable stuff. Wimpy red-haired teen Bobby, sick of being mistreated by his bullying stepfather and seductive stepsister, runs away from home, only to be gang-raped by four bikers who leave him unconscious and naked near a compound for Satan worshippers. Since their leader Simon is away, second-in-command Sherry orders Bobby taken inside and cared for. She has sex with him, but is later buried in the sand, covered with honey and attacked by ants at Simon's command. Simon also tells Bobby, who whines about how much his butt hurts, that being raped means he is weak, and Satan has no room for weaklings in his flock. So he busts out of the compound, eludes his captors, grabs a shotgun, kills his mean family and his rapists, cuts off their heads, and delivers them to Simon's breakfast table. Beauty, eh.
* FOR Y'UR HEIGHT ONLY--I've seen this one three times this week, and it stands as one of the most amazing motion picture experiences I've ever had. I'll be writing a piece on this and its Mondo Macabro DVD co-feature CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER for The Hub next week, so I'll keep this short. Suffice to say that it's a Filipino spy movie about Agent 00, a 2'9" action hero portrayed by a creepy-looking dwarf with an odd hairline named Weng Weng. You really can't call yourself a well-rounded film fan until you've seen Weng Weng kicking ass and taking names, using his powerful kung fu skills to smash the testicles of his enemies. Whether he's using his mighty midget mojo to sex up the Filipino hotties or mowing down dozens of red-bereted henchmen with his deadly trick pistola, Weng Weng makes Sean Connery and Steve McQueen, in their primes, look like pantywaists. Let me put it this way--there are two kinds of people in this world: those who have experienced the awe and mystery of Weng Weng and those who have not.
* RAW FORCE--Toler and I watched this one together this morning before our trip to the flea market. RAW FORCE may be the world's first kung fu/zombie/cannibal movie. It drags somewhat during the second act too, but otherwise is a crazyass tale of Nazi white slavers, Burbank karate instructors, cannibalistic monks, naked Filipino women, and drunken partiers thrown together on Warriors Island, which contains a graveyard for kung fu criminals who escape from their graves to munch on some human sacrifices. Cameron Mitchell is in this one too. Jesus, they don't make movies like this anymore, and I sure as shit wish they did.
* THE CANDY SNATCHERS--I was excited to introduce Toler to Guerdon Trueblood's downbeat crime thriller, one of the best and most disturbing drive-in flicks of the 1970's. From its witty theme song, "Love Is The Root Of All Happiness", to its daringly pessimistic final crane shot, THE CANDY SNATCHERS is full of story twists, amoral but well-developed characters, sleaze, violence, social commentary and good acting. Again, I don't want to go it too much, because I imagine the film works best the less you know about it. It isn't a fast-moving, action-packed thriller, but if you have the patience to absorb the dialogue scenes, I think you'll take a lot away from THE CANDY SNATCHERS.
I spent only $2 at Gordyville, but it was fun to ramble around anyway. It's a lot bigger than it was the last time I was there over the summer, I think because there's less to do this time of year and more vendors are available to attend. Lots of NASCAR, Elvis, Johnny Cash and STAR WARS stuff. I picked up six old paperbacks on the 3-for-a-buck table: Alistar MacLean, Richard Prather and Brett Halliday.
I downloaded iTunes last week...accidentally really, because I updated QuickTime to 7.0, and iTunes comes with it. I have been using Windows Media Player and Winamp to play music on my computer. I'm not sure there's a big different among them, but iTunes is fine. For the heck of it, I put it on shuffle mode and started playing everything in my library, which runs the gamut from TV themes to radio spots for old Crappy Movies to '60s rock to obscurities to really terrible music. One of these days I'll listen for an hour or so and write down everything I hear. It'll make for an eclectic experience, that's for sure. I just heard "Timothy" by The Buoys, bookended by Leonard Nimoy covering "I Walk the Line" and Lalo Schifrin's MEDICAL CENTER theme.