July 9th, 2008


This here is a new feature at The Video Vacuum called Tales from the Video Vacuum in which I impart to you, my faithful readers some of the hallmark moments in my movie going experiences.  I will also tell you about the unheralded people working in films that you may have missed or had completely forgotten about.  I will also essay random musings here, as well as general madness that spews out of my cranium.


But today, I want to tell you a little story about HOW The Video Vacuum came into being.  I have been writing this blog for almost a year now, but I’ve never actually sat down to tell you all why I do what I do.  Until now. 


I, like many great men in history didn’t have much of a purpose in life until God spoke to me.  Before Noah built the Ark, he was just an average Joe until God spoke him and got him to save all the animals of the Earth, and mankind in the process.  Before Joseph Smith created the Mormon Church, he was just some dude until God spoke to him and he in turn founded a beautiful religion where you can imprison multiple wives, treat ‘em like dog food, and keep ‘em preggers at all times.  Before being the acid guru of the 20th century, Timothy Leary was a DOCTOR, until God spoke to him on an acid trip and told him to tune in, turn on and drop out. 


I am like those great men.


Before God spoke to me, I was just some guy who watched dozens of movies a month and just kinda absorbed them all.  One day, shortly after watching Herschell Gordon Lewis’ The Gore Gore Girls, God spoke.  He said, “Mitchell, you need to spread the word.  You need to tell others just how truly demented this movie is.  You need to tell the people of this great planet about the scene where the killer beats a woman’s ass with a meat tenderizer.  You must tell the teeming masses about the scene where the killer rips out the girl’s eyeballs while marching band music plays.  And certainly you must tell them about the part when the killer cuts off a chick’s nipples and both white and chocolate milk shoots out.”  Then God whispered and said, “And if it’s at all possible try to tell ‘em that Henny Youngman, of all people is in the flick too.”  


I asked God how the heck I was gonna do that and he told me to make a magazine and distribute it locally, which I did for about a year or so.  It wasn’t until my beautiful wife Sarah got me set up on the net that I was finally able to spread my gospel to people worldwide. 


Now I know a lot of my reviews will not be popular, but then again any great man in history with God on his side is gonna have to deal with the crazy people out there who don’t want them to spread His word.  Jesus got crucified for it, JFK got his head turned into Ambrosia salad by an assassin’s bullet because of it, and Malcolm X got Red Shirted PDQ as well.  (Okay so Malcolm X was Muslim, but he had Mohammad on his side and Mohammad IS a god, so there.)  I know someday I will come face to face with an angry humanoid with an itchy trigger finger wanting to pull a Sirhan Sirhan on me.  He’ll probably say something like, “How could you possibly give Peter Jackson’s King Kong two stars and the Dino DiLaurentiis remake three?” and before I can say “Jessica Lange’s titties”, he’ll shoot me square in the face. 


(Since my tale will be eerily similar to that of Jesus, JFK and Malcolm X, hopefully either Mel Gibson, Oliver Stone or Spike Lee are taking notes so they can turn my life story into a movie.)


But don’t mourn my death brothers and sisters, for I will be returned to His kingdom where God will welcome me into the pearly gates with open arms; a Coke in one hand, hot buttered popcorn in the other, and me, Him, Elvis, Sid Vicious, Bela Lugosi and Russ Meyer will hunker down for Movie Night and watch a double feature of Basket Case and Frankenhooker. 


Speaking of the classics, that begs the question, “What kinds of movies can be found in The Video Vacuum?”  The answer is simple:  All kinds.  While my tastes run towards horror and exploitation, any movie I see is considered fodder for The VV.  After all God didn’t discriminate, so why should I? 


For those who read the site, thank you.  If you like what you read, tell your friends.  If you don’t, tell your friends.

See you all in The Vacuum.


--Mitch Lovell

HUMAN BEASTS (1980) **


Spanish horror legend Paul Naschy stars in this Spanish-Japanese co-production as a professional thief hired by the yakuza to steal a cache of diamonds.  He rips off the big boss man and intends to run off with his sister, but after Naschy fills him with lead, his sister goes out for revenge.  When Naschy is severely wounded in the woods during the ensuing gun battle, he hobbles his way to a cabin where he is taken in by a family of pig farmers.  While he convalesces, their nympho daughter gets naked and writhes around on top of him. 


If you think that’s weird, you haven’t heard the half of it.  Pops gets his jollies by whipping the black maid (its okay, she LIKES it, folks), rocking chairs start rocking all by themselves when the clock strikes midnight, and someone starts murdering people with a hook and feeding what’s left of them to the pigs.  To top it all off, Naschy starts having really bizarre slow motion dreams that further confuses things.  In the end, Naschy learns that the family is a bunch of ravenous cannibals. 


And guess who is on the menu.


A lot of this flick just plain doesn’t work.  The constant flashbacks and dream sequences are pretty worthless and merely add to the film’s running time (it’s only 90 minutes but it still feels about 15 minutes too long).  Also, as fucked up as the second half of the film is, the set-up is far more intriguing.  Although the first half of the film is tense and involving, once Naschy gets to the cottage things get increasingly disjointed.  The “twist” ending is slight and obvious and will probably leave a bad taste in your mouth.  (Pun intended.) 


That’s not to say that the film is a complete washout.  There’s a bounty of female flesh on display and the film is just plain weird enough to keep you more than halfway interested.  We also get a good scene where Naschy blows up a woman with a grenade, but my favorite part of the film was when Naschy’s tender love scene was intercut with the bloodthirsty pigs chowing down on a helpless doctor.  


This was a change of pace for Naschy after several Wolf Man movies.  Granted, I would have much rather seen Naschy in a full fledged hard-boiled yakuza flick than a mediocre horror movie that only PRETENDS to be a hard-boiled yakuza flick, but he’s pretty good at playing a ruthless killer and is fairly decent in the more romantic scenes he shares with his Japanese love interest.  


Speaking of the Japanese, since the Japanese helped to make this movie, they insisted on throwing in the gratuitous bad model boat for no good reason whatsoever. 


AKA:  The Beasts’ Carnival.