Monday, November 30, 2009

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day

Never forget those we've lost. Never give up on those we love. Volunteer. Donate. Take Action. Now. Educate to Eradicate. Go here to help:

The James Tolin Memorial Fund


The Elton John AIDS Foundation

God's Love, We Deliver

Or Google "HIV/AIDS+Charities+Agencies+(Your City)" to find out how to help in your own backyard. Think globally; act locally.

Rant over. Back to our regularly scheduled nonsense, anon.

Mama! Just Killed a Frog?

Via everyone and too silly to resist, the Muppets take on one of my High School anthems; Queen's Wagnerian opus Bohemian Rhapsody:

Delightfully silly, eh? Of course, nothing will ever compare to the original, especially for an angst-ridden gay teen who was sure the song was written just for him:

70's Art Rock at it's finest. Well, there were a few others... and I promise to talk about them soon (maybe even tonight). See? Freddy Mercury continues to inspire.

More, anon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

No Sh*t, Sherlock...

This is a shot of the always amazing Robert Downey, Jr. in his new movie Sherlock Holmes. Directed by the man formerly known as Mr. Madonna, the very yummy Guy Ritchie. Guy Ritchie's previous films include Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and RocknRolla (and the less said about Swept Away, the better). I've seen these films because they often star some of the hottest guys, including you-know-who. They are outrageous and amusing and very entertaining; Brad Pitt is particularly hot and hilarious in Snatch.

Sherlock Holmes is a heroin- addicted Victorian-Era detective with a razor sharp mind and exceptional powers of observation. Why, of course it's the perfect vehicle for a shoot-'em-up guy like Guy (every inferred ounce of sarcasm intended to its fullest).

It does have three things going for it: Downey, Jude Law and the lovely Rachel McAdams. And much has been made about the "bromantic" relationship between Holmes and Watson (Law). Still, the trailers I've seen are absolutely ludicrous. Here's a short teaser:

And here's the latest, longer version:

How does a gangly, pale heroin addict transform into a short, muscular, trouble-loving brawler while still remaining the most brilliant mind in all of England? You hear that noise? That's Conan-Doyle spinning in his grave fast enough to be heard all over the world.

My favorite Middle School teacher, Jack Fogarty, introduced me to the works of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, Agatha Christie and Ray Bradbury. He taught me how to analyze books (and later, films and plays) for narrative structure, dramatic conflict, foreshadowing and so on. He also cast me as Holmes in the 8th grade play, the first real starring role yours truly ever had. So, as you can imagine, I hold the source material in a certain reverence.

I hope I'm wrong. Maybe it's a terrific and fun and funny movie. At least they've kept Inspector Lestrade and Holmes' long-suffering housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson. But I fear I'm not. I'm actually less-excited to see it than I am Avatar... sigh. I don't think we're in for an amazing holiday movie season, folks.

At least we have this to look forward to (even if the release date at the end is wrong):

More, anon.

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week

A daytime quickie because I didn't want to forget to share this clip I found just wandering around on YouTube. It's about diversity within the gay community itself, and how we all need to stop defining each other with labels. It's well worth 4 minutes of your time:

More, anon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

School Daze

Tonight, Uncle Prospero had one of the strangest, most surreal* and thoroughly enjoyable experiences of his life. Yes, I attended my 30th High School Reunion.

"Holy crap!" you might be saying. "Prospero is that old?" Yes, I am that old. Still, more people recognized me than I recognized, so I guess I'm doing okay.

I went to Woodrow Wilson High School, which has since been re-named Harry Truman High School, after the closure of my district's other high school in the 80's. I moved around a bit and lost touch with almost everyone from Wilson. But, with the advent of Facebook and similar social networking sites, I suddenly find myself reconnected to folks I haven't seen in 30 years. And it's wonderful.

I was, I will admit, a bit apprehensive about attending. I hadn't been to (nor was even aware of) any previous reunions, for any number of reasons. But thanks to Facebook, I was able to attend this one - and it was just terrific.

So much of who we are today is based on the relationships and experiences of our past. It was honestly wonderful to see so many friends from the past (and sad to not see those who couldn't attend). I recognized some folks immediately (my friends Nina and Holly virtually unchanged) and a few others after squinting at their name tag under the banquet hall's dim lights. One friend surprised me with what she thought was shocking news, while others surprised me with their rather unexceptional lives. And more than a few were absolutely unrecognizable, but out of a class of 400+, that's understandable.

Kudos to Debbie L and Suzanne B for organizing an outstanding evening.

Remember - there will be no Saturday post this week. Instead, read me on The Zombie Zone.

More, anon.

*By the way, this is a link to my favorite painting of all time, by Salvador Dali. I have no idea why it means so much to me -- it just does. Dali is my favorite artist and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus speaks to me in a way few paintings can, even if I don't understand why. I hope you've experienced the same phenomenon, yourself.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Thanksgiving Big Bad-Movie Extravaganza

Ah, there's nothing like a Thanksgiving Feast! Delicious appetizers, yummy turkey with gravy and potatoes; green bean casserole; a girl's arm; cranberry sauce; pumpk... wait. What?

Yes, it's here. Caliban's Revenge presents the First Annual Big, Bad Movie Extravaganza. As promised, it's a salute to one of the worst filmmakers (with the oddest career) in the history of cinema, Herschell Gordon Lewis.

H.G. Lewis is currently in post production on his 37th film, The Uh-oh Show, and if that sounds kind of porny, it's because Lewis started his career in the early 60's, making soft-core skin flicks with titles such as The Adventures of Lucky Pierre; Nature's Playmates and (I swear to God) Boin-n-g.

In 1963, Lewis moved from the porn-houses to the Southern Drive-In circuit with his first horror movie, Blood Feast, the movie that made Lewis "The Godfather of Splatter."

Set in Miami, Blood Feast is the story of an Egyptian caterer who offers to make a feast that hasn't been prepared for 5000 years for an engagement party. Meanwhile, the bodies of young women -- sans various body parts -- start popping up all over town, leaving the inept Miami Dade PD both literally and figuratively clueless (of course, David Caruso and his team of hot, sexy scientist cops would have kicked their asses). Of course, it turns out that the feast is part of a resurrection ceremony and the daughter is the final sacrifice to bring an ancient goddess to life in a body stitched together from the various missing parts. Bad writing, acting and directing combined with the worst special effects anyone has ever seen (Lewis uses mannequin limbs; butcher's castoffs and lurid red paint with laughable results), help make Blood Feast so wonderfully awful:

Nothin' hotter than Big Girl panties, eh boys? Lewis immediately went back to nudies, making Goldilocks and the Three Bares, and you'll see why I mention it soon. H.G.'s next horror movie was a charming little tale of hillbilly revenge called Two Thousand Maniacs! Six Northerners are lured into a small town and told they are the guests of honor at their Centennial Celebration. Of course, it turns out that they're celebrating the 100th anniversary of their annihilation by a squad of sadistic Union soldiers and "Guest of Honor" really means "Substitute Revenge Victim." The kills are more inventive (crushed by a falling boulder; sealed in a barrel of nails and rolled downhill; draw and quartering. There's even cannibalism. Lewis' standards of quality remain delightfully non-existent:

Okay, so maybe she was crushed by a giant baked potato... Yeeeeee-Haw! indeed. Rounding out what many refer to as Lewis' "Blood Trilogy" is 1965's Color Me Blood Red, about a bad artist who accidentally discovers that painting with blood finally brings him the critical acclaim he seeks, and so begins a killing spree in his quest for "paint:"

It may be macarb, but it is not for the eyes or ears of anyone under 16. And it always leaves me aghast. In '67 (despite what the clip below says - it's wrong, not me) Lewis made a delightful little movie about a madwoman and her mentally challenged son who murder and scalp young women to supply the old lady's wig shop. I've never actually seen The Gruesome Twosome, but I imagine it's every bit as good as any of Lewis' endeavors.

Gruesome was quickly followed by Something Weird, Lewis' relatively bloodless tale of ESP and supernatural powers. He makes two more jiggle and bouncers and then, possibly in the single most bizarre career swerve ever, and makes a children's movie! Of course, The Magic Land of Mother Goose is probably the only scary movie Lewis ever made, as evidenced by the terrifying trailer below (and I apologize in advance for what's inside the giant book around 0:47). This is the second of three Fairy Tale-themed films Lewis would make:

I love that the company is "Something Weird Video." But honestly, would you subject a child to that? It's British Pantomime on LSD with a morphine chaser! Yikes! I've watched it three times now, and it still creeps me out. I guess making a movie made by placing a camera in your local community theatre's auditorium and filming their Christmas show is a cheap, if nothing else. There were a bunch more skinflicks, biker chick flicks and general exploitation movies that followed.

It would be another three years before Lewis made what his most insane horror movie yet, 1970 The Wizard of Gore. This a film I know I've mentioned before, because it is one of the very few things I can remember ever making my sister swear. Montag the Magnificent is a magician who stages elaborate and gory illusions using power saws and drill presses and such. His audience volunteers walk back to their seats completely unharmed, but turn up later, dead from the same injuries they appeared to have suffered on stage. About halfway through the movie, my sister, who was probably in high school at the ime, turned to me and said "What the hell is this crap?" A question I still ask myself, today:

More jigglers and then The Gore-Gore Girls in 1972, another movie I've never actually seen. Lewis took a thirty year break from directing, but returned in 2002 with Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat. In the trailer's intro (a trademark, if you haven't noticed by now), Lewis says "Horror movies have come a long way since (Blood Feast)..." Thankfully, Lewis' talent for directing hasn't changed a bit:

It's nice to know that Lewis' running gags about stupid cops and repeated use of cow tongues never goes away. And soon, the insane 80 year-old's 37th movie will be upon us. The Uh-oh Show is about a bizarre game show that features on-air chainsaw amputations and it's follow-up, 'Grim Fairy Tales,' inspired by teh nightmare's kids have about fairy tales. It's either a brilliant statement about the state of modern television programming, or just another whacked out framing device for Lewis to stage unrealistic, elaborate murders. Here's the trailer, you decide:

You know the DVD will be on my Amazon wish list...

A director whose career has inexplicably lasted 50 years, H.G. Lewis is the not only the first subject of the Annual Big, Bad Movie Extravaganza, he is also the winner of the first ever Caliban's Revenge "Moon Cow Award" (look it up, philistines) for Lifetime Achievement in Bad Film-making. We can all be thankful to H.G. for proving that a lack of talent should never stand in one's way of a 50-year career.

If you're getting up at 3:00 AM to go shopping tomorrow, don't. I feel sorry for the store employees who have to get up at 1:00 to wait on you. They may be getting overtime, but they aren't paid enough to put up with your insane, consumer-programmed need to get that 42" LCD TV for $36.00, no matter how many people you need to trample to death to do so. I will be shopping tomorrow, but in the afternoon and far away from the malls in two quaint little Bucks County towns. Let the holiday madness begin.

More, anon.

An Aperitif

I found this image while looking for a picture as part of the Big Bad Movie Extravaganza, but was so intrigued I went looking for the movie and was both horrified and delighted to find that Thankskilling is an actual movie. The trailer says Fall, 2008; IMDb says November 2009. I have never heard of it before this very moment. I MUST see it!

Obviously, it's a comedy and in all fairness, the trailer is actually sort-of amusing. The stuff they're parodying seems a bit dated, but it also seems so cheaply and ineptly made that nothing can stop me from tracking it down, now. Language may be NSFW:

I hope your Thanksgiving was as delicious and wonderful as that trailer was painful. On to the Main Course.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Boll Me Over

Half a day at the day job and a night on the town with a friend tonight, means an earlier than usual post today. And what a stinker I have lined up to dis. Uh, I mean, discuss.

I've chosen this particular entry from German director Uwe Boll's canon, for two reasons; it is the first Uwe Boll movie I ever saw and it is also the only Uwe Boll movie I've seen most of. I've seen the trailers for Alone in the Dark and and clips from Bloodrayne and In the Name of the King. None of it was very encouraging, especially after the outrageously bad reviews Boll's movies generate. Even the presence of my obsession couldn't get me to go see In the Name of the King. But I had dismissed those reviews for House..., simply because most horror movies get bad reviews and I'd never seen Boll's work.

Then I rented it when it came out on DVD and sat down all prepared for a zombie movie, not realizing at the time that it was based on the video game of the same name (as most of Boll's movies are). The credits rolled... Clint Howard. Oh, dear... Oh, no wait - salvation.. Jurgen Prochnow! He's great in Das Boot and The English Patient! Yay! OK, so I'm slightly encouraged. At least there's one good actor...

Then the movie started for real. Prochnow captains a boat that drops a bunch of college kids off on a remote island so they can have some sort of huge tropical rave. But they end up waking the island's dead and everyone gets eaten. There are no characters to care about, ridiculous dialog and no actual plot that I could follow. The effects are atrocious and the shots look like they were set up by a blind six year-old. The action sequences appear to have been edited in a sausage grinder; you can't tell what anyone's doing and I'm pretty certain Boll repeats shots in reverse angle so as not to have to shoot to much. Dark and hard to see, House of the Dead is a terrible, terrible movie with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Prochnow knows he's making a piece of crap and it shows in his stoop-shouldered performance. Even Howard, who lives in the bitter shadow of brother Ron's success, seems embarrassed to be in House of the Dead.

See what a good trailer editor can do to make a movie look halfway decent? And I never realized until just now that Rorschach apprently narrated the trailer. Boll's films are hated by fanboys and critics alike. None of them make money, but studios keep giving him money to make them (even after German tax laws were changed). Infinitely worse than Plan Nine... House of the Dead isn't even fit to be called a movie. Remember how I said I'd seen "most of" the movie. I barely made it halfway. To this day, I do not know (nor do I even care) how it ends. Five Out of Five Drumsticks.

So, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I wish each and every one of you a safe and happy holiday weekend. I don't know about you, but I will NOT be getting up at 3:00 AM to witness the trampling of some poor Walmart temp. What I WILL be doing after dinner tomorrow is posting the First Annual Big Bad Movie Spectacular, a tribute if you will, to the work of one really bad director.

More Limburger, anon

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

As Harmless as a Kitchen...

You knew I'd be getting to dear old Edward D. Wood, Jr, didn't you? Of course you did. So many reasons to love Ed, not the least of which is what is undoubtedly Tim Burton's best film Ed Wood, a loving homage and romantically fictionalized biopic of the inept director who gained fame (like so many others) only after he wasn't around to enjoy it anymore. Burton's film (and Johnny Depp's extraordinary performance) paints Wood as a cock-eyed optimist; a fast-talker who can fast-talk almost anyone into almost anything, because he believed what he was saying, himself. In reality, Wood was a fifth-rate, trannie hack who surrounded himself with people he was able to manipulate into helping him make terrible, terrible movies. And eventually, even they all went away, leaving Wood to a career finale of soft-core horror porn that is indescribably worse than any of his "legitimate" horror movies.

And while I may be talking about the schlockmeister himself, you'll be happy to learn that I will not be talking about Wood's infamous "Worst Movie Ever Made" (it's not, by the way -- trust me). That movie has been done to death and I have little new or interesting to say about it. No, tonight I'm talking about another equally inept Ed Wood horror movie, 1955's Bride of the Monster.

BOM is the the first Ed Wood movie that I actually can remember seeing. The name Ed Wood meant nothing at the time - I was maybe 8 or 10 - but the fact that starred Bela Lugosi was enough for me to watch it on the local Philly horror show, hosted by Dr. Shock.

Originally titled Bride of the Atom, the plot of BOM is insanely inane. Lugosi plays Dr. Vorloff, a mad genius who was exiled from his own country for war atrocities or some such thing. Now, living in the Florida Everglades, he has captured a dozen men in order to create a race of 'Atomic Supermen.' When a local reporter gets to close, she falls victim to Vorloff's madness. Wrestler Tor Johnson is Lobo, a mute Igor character who stumbles through the movie with the grace of a drunken rhinoceros. For some reason, Vorloff keeps a giant mutant octopus (I suppose the movie's titular Monster) in a pond next to his lab. When Vorloff's inevitable bad ending comes, it's simply Lugosi thrashing about in a shallow pond, trying to look like he's fighting a cheap, malfunctioning prop octopus, which he is.

This is the movie that gave Martin Landau that marvelous speech from Ed Wood (as well as a very funny re-creation of the octopus fight).

The end of the movie? Why, a mushroom cloud, of course. When Atomic Supermen and Atomic Octopi explode, there's always a mushroom cloud.

Painted cardboard sets, kitchen colanders as "electro-helmets" and supremely bad acting make this Edward D. Wood, Jr. movie so much funnier (and sadly, more pathetic) than Plan Nine. Oh, and this post's title? Lugosi has a line which was supposed to read :"Don't be afriad of Lobo. He's as harmless as a kitten." I don't know if it's the result of his morphine addiction, his thick Hungarian* accent or a flask of rut-gut, but I swear he says "harmless as a kitchen." BOM also features some of the worst dialogue Wood ever wrote (excluding the "Stupid Minds" line in Plan 9)

Four and a Half Drumsticks.

I'm getting closer to the Big Bad Movie Spectacular, you know when. And I'll give you a hint: the entire post will be devoted to the career of one director. Regular readers know the guys I hate/love/hate. And a bonus hint: This post puts Wood out of the running. Hmmm... that leaves maybe... oh, I don't know... three...? four...? Let me know who you think it is. The first correct answer (revealed as part of the BBMS) just might win something special (or a total piece of crap, depending on your perspective). Leave your guess in the comments.

More, anon.

*PS - I'm allowed to make fun - I'm Hungarian.

The Gayest Horse You'll See this Week

Credit to Chicago's Best Gay Blogger for posting this first:

First Openly Gay Racehorse To Compete Sunday

The Onion continues to produce some of the funniest news parodies on the web.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"What Kind of Idiotic Joke Is This?"

I have no idea who Claudio Fragasso is, or if he even exists. He has a lot of credits (including Terminator 2) under a lot of different names, which leads me to believe he may well be the Italian equivalent of Alan Smithee. And this infamously bad movie (made under the name Drake Floyd) may be the pinnacle of Fergasso's career -- and will forever cement him in my mind as the Italian Uwe Boll.

A family moves to the town with the unlikely name of Nilbog (Goblin, spelled backwards - but shouldn't it really be Llort?). Grandpa Seth has been telling young Joshua tales of trolls and goblins which turn out to be true, even if Grandpa is really dead. Bad writing; bad acting; bad special effects; bad soundtrack; bad editing; bad sound; bad sets; bad costumes and bad direction all equal a truly putrescent piece of celluloid rubbish so awful, it has the biggest cult following since Rocky Horror...

There's even a brilliant documentary about, called Best Worst Movie, written and directed by Joshua himself, Michael Stephenson:

I'm waiting for Best Worst Movie to come out on DVD.

I did find this amusing compilation of scenes from Troll 2:

And here's the original trailer:

Oh, dear. Can anyone deny this movie's craptitude? Four and a Half Drumsticks.

More crap, anon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Beg to Differ

It may be a little hard to read, but in lower left corner of the poster for Robinson Crusoe on Mars there's an official-looking seal thingy with the following quote:
"This film is SCIENTIFICALLY AUTHENTIC..." I truly do beg to differ, because even in 1964 when this ridiculous Sci-Fi version of the DeFoe novel was made, they knew Mars was not on fire!

Starring manly Paul Mantee as Cmdr Christopher 'Kit' Draper and future Batman Adam West as Col. Dan MacReady as his co-pilot on a Two Men and a Monkey space mission gone awry, resulting in a crash landing on the Red Planet. With MacReady no longer ready for anything, Draper and the monkey must try to survive the hostel planet.

Remember how I said Mars wasn't on fire? (I'll prove it, if you want me to) Well, this "SCIENTIFICALLY AUTHENTIC" movie says Draper lands on "the fire-swamp that is Mars!" (I always wondered where Goldman got that name), and thus its atmosphere must contain oxygen, so the monkey and the space cowboy can at least breathe. They even find water and primitive seaweed to eat. Then it gets even less Scientifically Authentic when the ships from War of the Worlds show up and laser blast their own damned planet to mine some rare element. Of course, one of the aliens' humanoid slaves escapes and Draper names him Friday, just to see if they could get DeFoe to spin in his grave a little faster.

Now, I read a few really positive reviews of this movie on various sites and blogs, but I was dubious, because even as a kid I thought it was cheap-looking, so I went back and watched parts of it again on YouTube. I'm sorry to say that my memories of this Byron Haskin film are all correct. Haskin did lots of TV for Disney and would later make The Power, an interesting thriller about telekinesis, ESP and mind-control. He was also an FX man on Pal's War of the Worlds. The matte paintingss are quite beautifully rendered, until they stick real people (or worse - 2D rocketship landings) in front of them, and you realize how fake they actually are.

The actors are game enough (like the bird many of us will be eating in four days) and they all manage to get through the thing without sniggering at the complete inanity of what they're doing. They were contract players and they earned their checks, went home at night and envied really big stars. At least Mona the Woolly Monkey had no idea she was making such a bad movie. Or did she? After the trailer, we'll talk about the DRS* (Drumstick Rating System).

Pee-yew! "Scientifically Authentic" my Aunt Fannie's ass! Three out of Five Drumsticks.*

*For the next four days, leading up to the Big Bad Movie Spectacular, I'll be rating the movies I discuss sort-of in reverse of my usual star system. I am, despite what one might think, a breast man. I don't like (nor have I ever liked) thighs or drumsticks. In fact, you might say I really hate drumsticks. So, the DRS works like this: The more Drumsticks, the worse the movie. In other words, One Drumstick is: "Eh - that wasn't so awful" and Five Drumsticks is "Oh dear God in Heaven, who fed that old dog beans?!" Got it?

And if you haven't already, don't forget to check out my new weekly blog Prospero's Zombie Zone.

More, anon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Last Saturday Evening Post

Well, almost. It's my last Caliban's Revenge Saturday Post.

Yes, your Mad Uncle Prospero has started a new weekly blog, Prospero's Zombie Zone. One guess as to what it's about.

Now, that doesn't mean I will stop talking about you-know-whats here in Cali's Revenge. I just may save most of it for the Z-Zone. It will only be once a week, so rest assured dear readers (all 16 of you), I will be posting here 6 nights a week (give or take - you know what happens when I'm working on a show).

I must admit that I do like the format I chose for the new blog, and will probably be changing Caliban's Revenge a bit, soon. It's looked the same for a long time and its due for a facelift. I'll let you know they're coming before I make any drastic changes here.

And how about that Saturday Evening Post cover? Who knew Rockwell could be so homoerotic?

Anyway, head over to the Z-Zone if you get a sec (and especially if you love the Zs as much as the stupid people on V love the Vs).

Man, that last parenthetical was exceptionally lame, wasn't it? I should delete it. Nah, I've written worse...

Oh, and I've decided that since November and Thanksgiving always mean turkey, I'm going to make November Caliban's Revenge's Official Bad Movie Month, in which we can revel shamelessly in the delirious joy of bad film making.

So here's another little appetizer until the Big Bad Movie Spectacular on Turkey Day , itself. (damn, now I have to live up to that claim come Thursday). Anyway - enjoy (with every ounce of sarcasm I can muster on keyboard) this:

Bad, bad movie! No! Not on the carpet!

More, anon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Heads Up

I know I've briefly mentioned a movie that absolutely freaked out my sister, to the point where even the humming of it's sappy 70's theme song "It's Incredible," sung by Bobby Doyle, would drive her screaming from the room. I believe she was maybe five when we saw this movie at a drive-in with our parents. I have no idea what the other picture was. I certainly remember thinking it was bad, even then. Of course, ten years later I learned to appreciate its stank in a completely different way.

And since I'm on a Bad Movie jag, I ran across the trailer for The Incredible 2 Headed Transplant and thought I'd talk about it a bit, which I will in a sec - because as I started thinking about this movie, I realized there are lots and lots of bad Head movies - some of them are about multi-headed horrors, many of them are about detached heads, kept alive through the science of a mad genius and still some of them are beyond description.

The Incredible 2 Headed Transplant (or TI2HT as it shall hence be called), has the distinction of having some surprising talent among it's cast, chiefly Bruce Dern as the mad scientist who is experimenting on animal head transplantation. Why? Who knows? It seemed like a good idea at the time, I suppose. Somehow (I seem to have blocked most of it's plot from my memory, and for good reason I am sure), he ends up grafting the head of a criminally insane killer onto the body of mentally-challenged Hillbilly behemoth, with the usual disastrous results. Scooby-Doo's Shaggy, Kasey Casem is on hand as Bruce's old college buddy and Pat Priest (Marilyn on "The Munsters") is the Dumbsel in Distress. Quite simply, a terrible film from schlock-house AIP:

Of course, the following year, AIP came back with the same plot, this time grafting the head of a rich, White bigot onto the body of an African-American behemoth in The Thing with Two Heads. The once-great Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend; The Uninvited) is reduced to a comic foil alongside former NFL star Rosie Greer in a patently ridiculous exploitation movie:

Of course, long before either of those movies, two Americans made a 1959 Japanese horror movie called The Manster, about a man who (once again, thanks to a mad scientist) literally grows a second version of himself, starting with a boil that turns out to be an eye growing on his shoulder. Eventually, a head pops out and finally the new, evil version seperates itself, completely. The movie is paid homage by Sam Raimi in Army of Darkness, and was the inspiration for a two-headed man costume that won me three "Scariest Costume" awards when I was about 9, or so. Mom gave me a Styrofoam wig head which I decorated with paint and plastic face parts and a wig from Woolworth's and she helped me attach it to my shoulder with masking tape, if I remember. I wish I could have found footage from this film. If anyone knows of a site where I can get some, please let me know.

And while two heads may be creepy, one head can be pretty awful, all by itself. Take The Brain That Wouldn't Die, please. (Sorry, had to). A mad scientist (are you sensing a pattern, here?) is speeding with his fiancee in the car resulting in a wreck which decapitates the poor young lady. Of course, being a mad scientist in love, he takes her head back to his lab and hooks it up to wires and fluids and voila! she is alive (sort of). As the charming fellow tries to find a replacement body onto which he can transplant his beloved's coconut, she develops a psychic connection to her beloved's last experiment, a mutant kept chained behind a door. This 1962 piece of crap makes for a delightfully hilarious episode of MST3K:

And a head isn't always necessary... often, just a brain will do, as in 1963's They Saved Hitler's Brain (aka The Madmen of Mandoras):

The brain might even be invisible without the aid of special equipment. Hell, it might even have antennae:

Mmmm! Flying, giant, slimy-looking stop-motion braaaaiiiiinnnssss!

So, are two heads actually better than one? I suppose it all depends on your perspective. Personally, it doesn't matter, because a Head movie will never be good (unless it's a joke on "Futurama"). And while two heads aren't necessarily any worse, one can be pretty awful. Of course, there is one really bad Head movie that actually scares me:

More, anon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Things to Be Thankful For

See that poster? It's real. It's for a movie about... oh, dear God... about a... I almost can't bring myself to type this... Aw, what the hell? Blood Freak is a 1972 horror movie about a were-turkey! Seriously. The monster is actually a guy who turns into a blood-drinking killer turkey... And yes, this is another Bad Movie post. Sorry, I've just been in a bad movie mood for 40 years (and if you get that joke, you've done way too much theatre, you're really gay or you're my friends Kathy and Alice).

Today, Unkle Lancifer and Aunt John's wonderful Horror blog Kindertrauma had a post about horror movies one should watch for Thanksgiving, and while Blood Freak wasn't exactly recommended, it was mentioned. And since I had never heard of this movie (the closest I could come was Bloodsucking Freaks, Joel Reed's 1976 craptacular which is alternately titled The Incredible Torture Show. Get it? Lame).

Anyway, I clicked a link and soon found myself confronted by the most inexplicable three minutes of a movie I've ever seen. And in all fairness, any random three minutes seen out of context from any movie can be misleading and confusing. Sadly, I have a feeling that the randomness and non contextual factor have nothing to do with the following trailer. You watch it first and then we'll come back to discuss. K? BRB. (Um, I'd say "Enjoy the clip," but that depends on how stoned you are when you watch it - not that I'm endorsing anything, I'm just sayin' is all):

Ah... H.G. Lewis seems a genius; Ed Wood an auteur and Brett Ratnor a Celluloid Picasso, compared to directors/writers Brad F. Grinter and Steve Hawkes. I read the rather extensive synopsis on IMDb, and it still made no sense. So, here's my attempt to distill it (in at least as much as I understand it) for you, dear reader:

Herschell (Hawkes) is a down-on-his luck Vietnam Vet. He gets a job at a turkey farm, where the owners are experimenting in an attempt to create an addictive turkey product. Having already gotten Herschell addicted to pot laced with some of their chemicals, they promise him more if he'll agree to test their chemically altered product. The results (as usual in these kinds of movies) are not good. Herschell becomes a were-turkey,* capable of getting the drug he needs only by drinking the blood of other users (though how he schlurps it up through that immovable papier-mache beak is beyond my ken - use a straw, for cryin' out loud - or at least a sippy-cup!). If you'll excuse me for evoking de Sade, the pain of watching this movie must be exquisite. Hey, I made it through Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter - I can make through almost anything, damn it!

And just so you know - this Bad Movie Mood isn't over, just yet. Now you can't say that you haven't been warned. And of course, these posts are a movie geek's version Schadenfreude, which is a German expression for the feeling of enjoyment one gets from other people's misfortune... Damn! The Marquis raises his dirty little head again.

*Be honest - on what other blog might one find the term "were-turkey" not once, not twice, but three times in the same post which also mentions the Marquis de Sade , Jesus and bad movies? Find me one and I'll buy you dinner. OK - I'll admit it, that last link was purely for the amusement of my sister, who is probably wetting her pants as she reads this (or at least trying real hard not to). I probably should have linked the word 'dinner' to this, instead.

Honestly - what the hell is wrong with me that I feel compelled to see this insultingly bad film? Please, tell me I'm not alone in this bizarre obsession...

More, anon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Hurt You BAD!"

Creepy, ain't he?

I came across the movie I'm going to briefly discuss while researching my "Shocktober" post on Evil Child Syndrome, but I had never seen it, and couldn't find a way to include it's ineptitude in that particular entry.

Still, given my propensity for all things MST3K and almost all things snarky, I felt it my duty to share with you the trailer for what may well be the single worst film in history. Seriously.

Plan Nine from Outer Space may be the 'official' Worst Movie Ever Made, but that's only because right wingnut movie critic Michael Medved and his brother said so in their book The Golden Turkey Awards, back in the 80's.

But, just on the evidence provided by the trailer, I think the 1977 stinkeroo The Child may honestly be the actual holder of that rather dubious title:

Okay, I've watched that trailer three times and I still have absolutely no idea WTF this movie is about, other than Rosalie is a satanic killer in the body of a child? Or is a child possessed by a satanic killer? Or.. Oh, really! I have no friggin' clue what this movie is actually about. All I know is, I MUST see it!

Really? What the hell is wrong with me? I know - if I don't know, how the hell should you? Still, if you have a clue as to where I might find a copy of this atrocity, please let me know.

Wow - 3 short posts in one night! I'm spent...

More, anon.

The Gayest Flash Mob You'll See This Week

Also via Towleroad, this Australian flash mob tribute to The B52's; Dolly Parton; Whitney Huston; Beyonce; The Village People; The Pointer Sisters and more, led by Oz's favorite drag queen, Joyce Maynge (I suppose she's their less pretty version of RuPaul) at Bondi Beach:

Honestly, how FABULOUS was that? And it certainly doesn't get much gayer than that, does it?

Even more, very anon.
Uncle Prosper

The Possibly Gayest Thing You'll See This Week

Via Towleroad comes this NBC clip from The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien:

Um... I'll take that phone, thanks (as long as I get to remove it myself...).

More, very anon...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Let Your Mind Go Blank"

I know I've mentioned Avatar at least once, but I haven't really gotten around to talking about it in any detail.

Mad Jimmy Cameron is at it again, making the most outrageously expensive movie ever made, in the hopes of coming as close as possible to the success of his last most outrageously expensive movie ever made. Can lightning strike twice for the self-proclaimed "King of the World" or have the investors thrown 8 bajillion dollars down le toilette? Let's take a look at it from both sides, shall we?

Pro: Cameron has made some of the best Sci-Fi action movies ever made (Aliens; T2).

Con: Cameron made the worst Best Picture ever made. It may be the all-time box-office champ, but it's sappy and unoriginal plot went on for far too long and suffered from some of the most ridiculous dialog Cameron ever wrote. And to be honest, Uncle Prospero still doesn't get the appeal of creepy Dicaprio (just like I don't get the appeal of creepy Penelope Cruz). They may both be talented actors, but... ick! What, is it me, or is everyone else blind?

Pro: I'm almost ashamed by how much I really like The Abyss, especially the director's cut. Despite it's many flaws, it still has a child-like wonder about it and the early CGI is truly outstanding (though the physical set at the end is still fake-looking).

Con: Despite how much I like The Abyss, it has so very many flaws. Most objectionable (especially for my friend Elizabeth, who despises this movie) is this bit of nonsense (may be NSFW):

Pro: Cameron spent years developing a new kind of 3D camera that is supposed to revolutionize the industry.

Con: Can an audience sit through two and a half hours of intense 3D action without getting headaches or becoming nauseous?

Pro: Sigourney!

Con: Michelle.

Pro: Sam; Zoe; Giovanni; CCH; James.

Con: Aliens that may be too cute for their own good.

Pro: Hmmm.... let's think.... um... Oh, okay! How about this? Visuals that must be astounding in 3D, if the 3D is as good as all that time and money spent should make it.

Con: A not-so-original plot. Human's need to relocate the native inhabitants of another world in order to ravage the planet to mine an exceptionally rare and expensive ore. Of course, the natives fight back. Cameron seems to have borrowed pages from Custer's Last Stand; Apocalypse Now; Total Recall; Flash Gordon and Hello Kitty, thrown them up in the air and then tried to rearrange the whole mess into a movie.

Pro: Jamie Lee Curtis' hilarious performance in True Lies:

Con: Cameron's creepy obsession with the Titanic.

Pro: It's a return to the genre that spawned his career and one at which he usually excels.

I could go on and on, but then I'd just start getting snarky (who, me?). I'm still undecided, but the latest trailer looks a bit better than the first one did. I'll certainly see it, - in fact, I'll be sending the emails to the usual suspects later this week -- but I'm just not as excited about it as I think I should be. Hopefully, the movie will change my mind.

What do you think? Are you planning on seeing Avatar? Let me know your thoughts.

More, anon.