fredag 30 november 2012

Blood, boobs and beast (2007)

Don Dohlers life would probably have been quite different if it hadn’t been for that particular incident in 1976 when the office he was working at was robbed by a couple of individuals using sawed off shotguns. As they put the barrel to his forehead he realized that you should hold on to some things, to do what you really wanted to do with your life. Of course, he survived, and started to pour all his energies into financing his dream - a creature feature. This turned into The Alien Factor, an über low budget scififlick about a spaceship crashing into rural Baltimore, releasing several nasty alien monsters that starts to eat the local population. This was very much a family venture, partly shot in Dohlers backyard and featured several family members in the cast. From 1978 to 2001 Dohler shot six movies that have gone done into b-movie history and Blood, boobs and Beast is a very funny and interesting documentary about making lowbudget movies in your own backyard and how it is to be somewhat of a cult figure. His first movies were somewhat tame affairs that managed to get good distribution deals on tv since Star wars had created a scifiboom but in order to get better deals he soon found himself forced to include the three B:s that the title of the documentary alludes to. BBB gives us a portrait of a very friendly man that made movies because it was his passion and although he never that much of a director, being even further restrained by the miniscule budgets he was working with, you can clearly see the love of special effects and monsters that made him go forward. We get to see Dohler work on his final movie, Dead hunt, and the problems that arise when actors doesn’t show up and the discussions of exactly how many naked breasts you should include in a movie to make it exploitative enough. We also meet Dohlers family and get to hear about the effects his filmmaking has had on their lives, throughout backlash and death. It gets especially sad toward the end when Dohler finds out that he has cancer in his brain and lungs and starts to look into all his affairs as his death approaches.

BBB is a well-made documentary that should interest anyone that has any kind of interest in the making of scifi and horror movies, or low budget filmmaking in general. Dohler almost comes through as dull in his average joe-ness but that is exactly what makes him so fascinating. He took a dream and ran with it, and although he never became a hot shot movie director he still left quite a big impression on a lot of people that grew up watching horror movies in the 80s, including me and we all remember his movies with love and warmth in all their cheesiness. Highly recommended.

On the dvd we also get Nightbeast, his first BBB movie that basically is a remake of Alien Factor with boobs and gore, about an alien running around in the woods tearing out peoples intestines. Wonderful stuff that also includes what must be movie history’s most unerotic sexscenes. Extra material doesn’t get better than this.

Demon wind (1990)

I would never accuse Demon wind of actually being a good movie but as entertainment go, you cant go wrong with the wonderfully cheesy 90 minutes of slimy horror that Charles Philip Moore serves us. A young man gathers a group of friends to help him look into what happened to his family and they travel into the barren wilds of some unnamed american part of the country (You know, the one with nothing else than a small diner with an old guy that tells them to stay away from the house) to the burned down ruins of his ancestral home. Before you can say "Evil dead-ish" the group find themselves hunted by THE DEMON WIND and are forced to stay inside the house, which for some reason is intact when they walk through the remains of the doorway, and fend of the demonic creatures that want their souls.

Yes, this is all so very very silly. Demon wind is a cheesy Evil dead clone with music straight out of a John Carpenter movie, oodles of elaborate and very goofy looking makeup and a general sense of fun! Hell, the movie even has a kung fu practicing magician that kicks the head off a demon! I'm pretty sure the scene where he performs a magic trick was inserted into the movie just because someone thought it would it look cool, it serves no purpose whatsoever.

And now I end up at that point where I really dont know what to write anymore, that particular phase that keeps me from writing reviews regularily. I want to write something entertaining and if I dont feel that the text I'm writing is entertaining enough I'll just stop and it will remain forever in the Draft zone. So instead I'll end this text (now that is long enough for publication) with this: If you like cheesy and cliched 80s horror you'll enjoy Demon Wind - it is quite ok. Not a masterpiece but nowhere near a disaster. It could be a bit more gory (there is lots of blood but it is yellow. Demon blood is yellow) but the pace is ok and there are boobs. A good late night flick with some ostbågar.   

måndag 19 november 2012

Night of the tentacles (2012)

An awesome title like Night of the tentacles promises a lot and Dustin Mills brings us a simple Faustian tale where porncartoonist/social recluse Dave sells his soul to the Devil for a new heart after having a heart attack. Of course, Dave doesn’t read the fine print (as if anyone does) and is provided with a box containing a tentacled monstrosity that needs human flesh to survive. And Dave has to provide the meat.

What Mills has brought us here is a slightly kinky version of the old Sell your soul to Satan story, with Dave slowly losing control over the thing in the box (the fact that he might have a conscience helps there). We've seen the story before but not the setpieces. Compared to Mills previous movie Zombie A-hole, Night of the tentacles isn’t as deliriously weird; we know pretty much from the start how this will end. But where Zombie A-holes storytelling was slightly lacking, NOTT shows that Mills writing skills have improved, telling a good story over the course of 90 minutes. This is both good and bad, Zombie A-hole was slightly meandering, focusing a bit too much on identical scenes of twin killing but was still very original in showing its own little world full of voodoo puppet zombies and uh... puppet zombies. NOTT has a good story structure but much less gory weirdness. Still, it has several nice scenes of bloody mayhem which should satisfy the gore hounds. Remember the scene in The Blob remake where a guy is pulled through a sink? Replace the dishwasher with naked chick on toilet. Yes, they went there. The special effects are a mixture of mostly CGI (which are ok) and lovingly cheesy practicals, the boxthingie is hilarious.

The best thing about NOTT is its delicious sense of humor, greatly helped by an able performance by Brandon Salkil who is on the screen the entire movie, chewing scenery as if the director threatened to torture a kitten to death unless he went all out. It is hard not to be engaged by what is going on when Salkil tries his best Bruce Campbell imitation and although the movie could have gained some by toning it down a bit, it still serves the story well. The other actors tend to be a bit uneven but still fun to watch.

I did not like NOTT as much as I loved Zombie A-hole and that is mostly from the fact that it isn’t as insane, it should have focused more on the tentacled Henenlotter-inspired beastie with the British accent and less on Daves strange love affair with the pregnant neighbor (which is both somewhat cringeworthily cute, but means less gore and tits) but it is still a fun watch. It clearly shows that Dustin Mills has some great potential ahead, especially since this was made for $1500, a ridiculously low amount of money - I spend more money on dvds at horror conventions than Mills used to make this! And that is a damn fine title.

Zombie babies (2011)

Zombie babies is an überlow budget movie that seems to be born out of the fact that the filmmakers sat down and thought of the most repugnant storyidea ever - aborted fetuses that come back to life after being doused by a particular brand of rank moonshine, all set at Burts Casino and hotel (And budget abortion clinic) during a special sales event. The problem with the movie isnt that the subject is too much, i did get a chuckle or two during the movie (fave bit - when Burt decides on a name for the event - Aborathon *giggle*) and I loved the final babyzombie, a lovely rubbersuit that I would have loved to see more of. No, the main fault of the movie is that it is so technically inept that you get a headache from watching it. Firstly, it is shot on some kind of low grade video with the picture a blurry hell and a soundmix that feels like it was recorded with a cassettetapeplayer from a 20" tv-screen. The special effects (the word special has a new meaning here) are just bad with digital erasing of the puppets strings half done, see through blocks and half erased crew members all over the place.

The actors does seem to be in on the joke and are probably the best thing about the whole enterprise, even though the shoddy sound makes it pretty hard to follow the dialogue from time to time. There is a lot of blood and nudity for those of us who like that but in the end it is all a wasted opportunity. Bonus point for Zombie babies most likely being the only movie ever to show an aborted fetus crap in a mans mouth during what he thinks is a session of oral sex. Yes, you read that right.

No, this is not a good movie. I admire the filmmakers guts for actually making a movie about aborted zombie fetuses and actually getting distribution but it kinda feels half finished. The worst part about this whole endeavour though is the fact that for the rest of my life I will get this on Recommended because you purhased Zombie babies. You know, stuff like Wrong turn 5. That is the true horror here.

tisdag 6 november 2012

Atomic brain invasion (2010)

Dear diary,

I have a problem. Yesterday I was watching the low budget scificomedy Atomic brain invasion and soon found myself in an uncomfortable situation. About half an hour into the movie (just about when those glorious alien brain hand puppets started to appear) my girlfriend walked into the living room and sat down beside me, expecting me to turn off the movie and watch something that isnt specifically interesting to just me. Now, for some mysterious reason, I didn’t. I just continued watching the movie. At first she didn’t say anything but as the movie progressed and the humor got sillier and sillier as more brain puppets popped up she started cringing and sighing with an increasing rate. It was obvious that she was getting more and more frustrated and it wasn’t until we were close to the climax of the movie that I relented and paused it to finish it later that night, in order to save the sanctity of our relationship and increase the chances of getting laid in the near future.

My problem is this: Even though we have been together for more than ten years, should I really accept all this sighing and negative commentary from her, especially when the brain puppets are as cool as this one. I will admit that the movie is very silly but it is lovingly so, this is a flick that shows its influences like open heart surgery. Yes, the acting walks a very fine line between uneven as hell and over the top as hell but it is clear that the actors are having so much cheesy fun. The only fault I find with it is that it favors being corny instead of being violent and filled with nudity, but part of that might come from watching the same crews awesome Disco Exorcist just a couple of days earlier. It is what it is, a cheesy low budget tribute to 50s scififlicks and as such not a bad way of spending 90 minutes of your life. And those brain puppets are awesome.

Then again, my girlfriend sat down with me while I was watching Hypothermia the day before, was caught up in it and admitted that she really liked it, in spite of the worst monster costume since Zaat. I'll give her a year or two.