February 5th, 2009

THE WILD AND THE NAKED (1962) **

Paulette (Tana French) is a French “artist model” who is hired by a leering photographer to pose for some nudie pics.  After a hard day’s work she relaxes by dancing by a swimming pool (Ray Charles must’ve been the choreographer) before going to shake her booty at a Latin go-go club.  The next day a strange guy picks her up hitchhiking and tries to rape her and some studly dude comes to rescue her.  Later a bunch of topless native girls show up and do some bizarre go-go dancing and then Paulette wakes up and… IT WAS ALL A DREAM!

 

The Wild and the Naked is a mediocre nudie-cutie that is burdened with some lethargic pacing and ugly broads.  The attempted rape scene goes on FOREVER and is edited rather shoddily.  The film is still watchable though, mostly because the plot is so WTF (I know it’s all a dream, but you’d think the thing would at least make SOME sense) and you never know what’s going to happen next.  The dubbing is hilarious; especially Tana French, who has a wildly overdone “French” accent.  French doesn’t have much in the Titty Dept. and has a face so fugly that it could be used a spokesperson for Purina Dog Chow, but that’s OK because I’ve seen worse in these kinds of movies.

SATAN IN HIGH HEELS (1962) *

Stacey (Meg Myles) is a bitchy stripper who works at a carnival who steals $900 from her junkie ex and leaves the carny life behind her to head to the big city where she gets a job singing in an upscale nightclub.  She sleeps her way to the top (or as close to the top as an ex-carny can get while working in a nightclub anyway) and leaves a lot of jealous men in her wake.  Eventually, her no-good ex shows up with a knife looking for trouble and Stacey uses her super skank skills to elude him.

 

Satan in High Heels is a tepid soap opera parading around as a 60’s skin flick.  It’s light on nudity (there’s an all too brief skinnydipping scene) and short on skuzzy thrills and probably wouldn’t give you a chub even if you just took a dozen pills of Viagra.  Myles never quite lives up to her “Satan” moniker and isn’t very convincing at playing a sexpot; although she does get to belt out a great song called “The Female of the Species (Is Deadlier than the Male)”.  Director Jerald Intrator later specialized in shooting “racy” insert scenes for imported horror movies like Night of the Bloody Apes and The Curious Dr. Humpp, but he really needed someone else to come in and shoot some steamy footage to spice up this dull turd of a film.

 

Future director Del (Horror of Party Beach) Tenney makes his acting debut as a fey piano player.

SATAN’S BLOOD (1978) ** ½

A young expectant couple meets some old friends who invite them to spend the weekend at their mansion.  Almost instantly weird shit starts happening.  Their hosts suck on raw meat, they kill the couple’s dog, and they play with an eerie Ouija board that tells them that they won’t live very long.  When the couple catches their hosts kneeling naked on a pentagram chanting to Satan… they STILL DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE!  But they do start up a hot 4 way orgy so I guess that’s worth spending an extra night.  Finally, the dumb asses get a clue and try to run, but predictably they can’t escape from the clutches of the Satanic swingers.

 

Satan’s Blood is one of those movies that were inspired by Rosemary’s Baby, so that means it takes its sweet old time to get going.  The flick moves at a very D-E-L-I-B-E-R-A-T-E pace, so be warned.  On the plus side though there are a lot of titties, orgies and sacrifices to enjoy, if you can stick with it.  The excellent pre-title sequence features an old Satan worshipper laying a hot virgin on his altar and kissing her luscious titties a lot before his bangs her pretty good (well good for an old Satanist dude wearing a Snuggie at least) and there is some other assorted goodies like exploding porcelain dolls filled with brains and blood in there for good measure.  The coolest part for me (besides the rampant titties) was seeing a great Spanish billboard for Star Wars though.

 

The baffled husband gets the best line of the movie when he says, “I don’t have a guilty conscience about strangling her!  She deserved to die!”

 

AKA:  Don’t Panic.

2008: A LOOK BACK

With The Video Vacuum Awards drawing closer everyday, I thought that now would be a great opportunity to take a look back at the year that was.  2008 was a great year for movies (and if you don’t believe me, take a look at the list below).  It had it’s fair share of disappointments (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), but it also had a number of surprises (The Incredible Hulk).  We had some shitty Jason Statham movies (Transporter 3) and we had some good ones (Death Race).  There were some movies that failed to live up to their hype (Cloverfield) and then there were those that did (Iron Man).  The good outweighed the bad though and provided me with some of the more memorable movie-going experiences of my life.

 

Speaking of memorable movie-going experiences, seeing the final From Dusk Till Dawn Labor Day Show at the now closed Diamond State Drive-In was one of the best I ever had.  The night was bittersweet due to the theater’s inevitable demise, but it is one that I will cherish the rest of my life.  We also said goodbye to the Rehoboth Mall Cinema as well.  That kinda snuck up on me over the Christmas Holiday.  I didn’t go there often (I think the last time was to see Cecil B. Demented), but I was sad to see it go.

 

But let’s not dwell on the sad stuff, let’s remember the good times.  Without further ado, here’s some (mostly positive) movie memories of the year…

 

Who could forget the sight of a Botoxed out Burt Reynolds dressed as a samurai in quasi-medieval surroundings in Uwe Boll’s In the Name of the King:  A Dungeon Siege Tale?

 

Remember after months of hype, when Cloverfield was FINALLY released so we could all stop talking about it?  Wasn’t that great?

 

How could anyone extinguish from their memory the final twenty minutes of Rambo, in which Sylvester Stallone shoots 2,600 people into little tiny pieces then cut the head off of a pervert Burmese soldier; giving new meaning to the term, Burma Shave?  It made Saving Private Ryan look like Sense and Sensibility

 

How about Jack Black and Mos Def remaking Ghostbusters on a non-existent budget in Be Kind Rewind?

 

I think we all felt a little better about ourselves the day we saw Will Ferrell wrestle a bear in Semi-Pro.

 

Remember when Jason Statham kicked the crap out of the obnoxious porn producer with a bad case of kidney stones in The Bank Job?

 

I think the day we saw gigantic ostriches trying to eat dreadlocked cavemen in 10,000 B.C., it enriched all our lives.

 

The world was instantly made a better place the day Neil Marshall set the 21st century record for ripping off FOURTEEN movies at one time in Doomsday.

 

Ah yes, and who could forget the day Owen Wilson uttered the immortal words, “It’s not a squeegee, it’s a straight edged weapon with a little mop to wipe up the blood!” in Drillbit Taylor. 

 

Remember when Kevin Spacey told us all how to count cards so we could clean up at the blackjack table just so Laurence Fishburne could give us a beat down in 21?

 

I think America became a stronger nation the day the med student amputated both of a Kraut’s legs with a Ginsu knife before cauterizing the wound with a frying pan so talking man eating vines wouldn’t eat him in The Ruins. 

 

Remember when the Day of the Dead remake blessed the world with the birth of Spider-Man Zombies?

 

How about the time when we saw Samuel L. Jackson get so mad that his barber gave him a Brian Dennehy’s hairdo that he had to cattle prod the shit out of a teleporting Hayden Christensen in Jumper?

 

Who could forget when Jonathan Schaech ran around a hotel wearing a baseball cap slashing the throats of annoying teens in Prom Night?

 

I’m sure the ladies haven’t forgotten Forgetting Sarah Marshall when Jason Segal blatantly whipped out his sausage for the whole world to see.

 

Dennis Quaid’s facial hair stole the show from Sarah Jessica Parker and Ellen Page in Smart People.

 

The Forbidden Kingdom not only gave us the pleasure of seeing the historical pairing of two Hong Kong martial arts legends, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, but it also raised our spirits during the enchanting scene where Li pissed in Chan’s face.

 

When you think movie magic, do you think of Amy Poehler pissing in a sink in Baby Mama?  Thought so.

 

The Rolling Stones proved they can still rock the house like nobody’s business and Keith Richards spoke eight intelligible words in Shine a Light.

 

We learned that the remake of Sisters was not identical to the original.

 

The scene where Robert Downey Jr. donned a makeshift suit of armor and pulled a reverse 9/11 on a bunch of scummy terrorists in Iron Man is one of those kinds of scenes you just go to the movies for.

 

April Fool’s was played on us when we were suckered into thinking that the remake of April Fool’s Day was going to be a good movie.

 

Who could forget Christina Ricci’s Anime Eyes in Speed Racer?

 

Teeth.  The Greatest Killer Vagina Movie of the Year.  Possibly of All Time.

 

Remember when Steven Spielberg wiped his ass with a piece of film and tried to pass it off as the fourth Indiana Jones movie?

 

I know we were all in awe that day Wrestlemaniac effectively combined porn, horror, and wrestling, which are three things that society as we know it today was founded on.

 

We all locked our doors up tight after watching three sickos in Halloween masks break into Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman’s home and mistake their abdomens for a Ginsu cutting board in The Strangers.

 

Remember the pain of having our wives and girlfriends drag us to see the horse faced Sarah Jessica Parker and her numb cunt friends running around like over-sexed cocktail hostesses for two and a half hours in Sex in the City?

 

How about the time when Michael Pitt rewound most of Funny Games and we all wished we had hit the erase button?

 

I think we were all grateful the day Louis Leterrier washed away the emotional scarring left on us by the horrible Ang Lee Hulk movie and delivered one of the greatest comic book movies of all time with The Incredible Hulk.

 

I think 2008 will be synonymous with the scene in Get Smart where a hungry rat crawled up Steve Carrell’s pant leg, nibbled on his gonads and he exclaimed, “That’s not cheese!”

 

Diary of the Dead proved that we are not automatically guaranteed a good movie when George Romero makes a zombie picture.

 

WALL-E made me believe in animated movies again. 

 

Wanted reminded us all why we enjoy going to the movies.  Namely to see Angelina Jolie’s ass. 

 

Next time you go to your local Wal-Mart, you’ll be surprised just how much it resembles the Troll Market from Hellboy 2:  The Golden Army.

 

Heath Ledger gave a performance that was literally to die for as The Joker in The Dark Knight. 

 

I think we all had a religious experience during Gingerdead Man 2:  Passion of the Crust when Gingerdead Man shoved a red hot curling iron up that guy’s ass. 

 

David Duchovny will remember 2008 fondly as the year he ran out of money so he had to make the half-assed sequel to The X-Files.

 

We all had the munchies the day Pineapple Express rolled out into theaters.

 

2008 was the year we all finally got to exhale from holding our breath for that 21 years in the making Lost Boys sequel, Lost Boys:  The Tribe. 

 

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay proved to us all that KKK rallies CAN be fun.

 

Death Race proved that you didn’t necessarily need all the original parts to keep your remake on the road.

 

Space Chimps reminded us all why Jeff Daniels isn’t usually cast as a villain.

 

Meet Dave proved that a movie could have a terrible trailer, lose countless of millions of dollars and still not be all that bad.

 

Vin Diesel showed he still has the acting chops necessary for the sci-fi/action genre in Babylon A.D.

 

In any dimension, Journey to the Center of the Earth was not a trip worth taking. 

 

M. Night Shymalamadingdong showed yet again he can’t come up with a satisfying ending to ANYTHING with The Happening. 

 

Son of Rambow reminded us that sometimes kids with camcorders can make better movies that Hollywood often can.

 

Star Wars:  The Clone Wars proved that people will pay good hard earned money to pay to see in theaters what they could’ve stayed at home and watched for free on TV.

 

I believe The Scorpion King 2:  Rise of a Warrior will go down in history as the best direct to DVD prequel to a prequel to a sequel to a remake ever made.

 

Tropic Thunder showed us that blackface is still socially acceptable, but you sure as shit better not call the mentally challenged “retards”.

 

British ghost kids weren’t scary in The Others, American ghost kids weren’t scary in The Sixth Sense, Japanese ghost kids weren’t scary in The Ring, so why is it not surprising that Mexican ghost kids weren’t scary in The Orphanage? 

 

With Burn After Reading, The Cohen Brothers proved the rule that after you win the Oscar, your next movie has to be complete shit.

 

Choke proved that sometimes movies CAN be better than the book.

 

Starship Troopers 3:  Marauder was so almost pretty good that it made me forget that the abominable Starship Troopers 2 existed. 

 

2008 will be remembered for the poetic scene in Postal where Verne Troyer got raped by a thousand horny monkeys.

 

The French proved they could be useful global citizens when they gave the world Inside, which is still the greatest crazy-chick-trying-to-cut-out-a-woman’s-baby-with-a-pair-of-scissors movie of all time.

 

Dario Argento made us wait almost three decades for the final installment of his Three Mothers Trilogy, Mother of Tears:  The Third Mother, and it was worth it.

 

Boarding Gate is the only movie I can think of that makes the prospect of Asia Argento having S & M sex decidedly unsexy. 

 

2008 will go down in history as the year in which a movie called 88 Minutes could actually run 107 Minutes.

 

Oliver Stone’s W. was the first movie in motion picture history that actually made you CARE about George W. Bush.

 

I’ll think we’ll all remember 2008 as the year director John (The Omen remake) Moore made Max Payne, a movie based on a video game that actually managed to out-Uwe Boll Uwe Boll.

 

You have to give credit to the Saw 5 filmmakers for continuously giving us another Saw movie once a year whether we want one or not.

 

Sex and Death 101 proved that having sex with 101 women is probably a good way to go out.

 

Superhero Movie showed us all the REAL reason Barry Bonds uses steroids:  to shoot laser beams out of his eyeballs.

 

Traci Lords proved that her va-jay-jay still has what it takes in the incredible scene in Zack and Miri Make a Porno when she blows bubbles out of her pussy.

 

Trailer Park of Terror managed to give both zombies AND white trash hookers a bad name.

 

Killer Pad reminded us all why Robert Englund is only allowed to direct movies every two decades.

 

Clint Eastwood showed us in Changeling that somewhere deep inside the man is the potential to make a truly great Women in Prison movie, if he could just cut out all the Lifetime Original Movie baloney. 

 

The Midnight Meat Train served as an excellent reminder as to why you should never follow Vinnie Jones home at four in the morning, especially when he’s brandishing an industrial sized meat tenderizer. 

 

Troma proved that they could still make gory horror/comedy/musicals like it’s nobody’s business with Poultrygeist:  Night of the Chicken Dead.

 

Transsiberian reminded me why I never leave America, mainly because nobody speaks a lick of English!

 

Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott taught us all how to be Role Models and were damn funny while doing so. 

 

Return to Sleepaway Camp introduced the world to the immensely talented Michael Gibney whose performance as Alan, the nerdy, fat, obnoxious kid who never bathes, will be the benchmark to which all others will be measured.

 

With Quantum of Solace, James Bond yet again proved that nobody does it better when it comes to action.

 

The sight of a zombified Jenna Jameson shooting billiard balls out of her twat in Zombie Strippers will no doubt go down in history…somewhere.

 

The Signal reminded us that we should always keep an air pump handy.  We never know when our loved ones will inexplicably go crazy and try to kill us; so we can stick that sucker right in their jugular and pump, pump, pump!

 

Gonzo:  The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson provided am ample look at the man who wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, even though it wasn’t quite Gonzo enough for me.

 

The third time was NOT the charm for Transporter 3, seeing that part 2 was such a bat shit insane classic.

 

Brian Cox showed us why you shouldn’t mess with old people’s dogs in Red.

 

Step Brothers proved that dysfunctional families can be really, really funny especially when your step brother says stuff like, “I got a V of hair going from my chest-pubes down to my ball ‘fro!”

 

Thanks to Punisher:  War Zone I now know that I can fix a broken nose by shoving a No. 2 pencil up my deviated septum and twisting it REAL HARD.

 

Hell Ride reminded us why nobody’s attempted to make a biker movie in the past 30 years.

 

People say that “Milk does a body good”, so it should at least nab Sean Penn an Oscar nomination.

 

Hamlet 2 proved that it is perfectly feasible to make a sequel to one of the Bard’s greatest works as long as it features lightsabers, a time machine and a sexy version of Jesus.

 

The heartless scene in which a helpless baby gets fed to a bunch of hungry monsters in Feast 2:  Sloppy Seconds made me wish the director’s mother had fed him to the monsters instead.

 

The Spirit reminded us all why we shouldn’t leave toilet seats and kitchen sinks just laying around in the swamp.

 

Hancock proved that even superheroes could have a drinking problem.

 

Valkyrie was probably the best one-eyed, three-fingered Nazi movie in the history of one-eyed, three-fingered Nazi movies.

 

The Day the Earth Stood Still made us all want to say “Keanu, Barata, Nicto!”

 

Clint Eastwood proved that even a 78 year old can kick a lot of ass in Gran Torino.

 

Rogue, while no Crocodile Dundee 2, proved yet again why I don’t travel outside the continental United States.

 

Shitdog Millionaire was a painful reminder that critics don’t always know what the fuck they’re talking about.

 

Righteous Kill proved the rule that the more screen time Robert De Niro and Al Pacino share in a movie, the worse it is.

 

The Wrestler showed us that broken down has-beens can still fly off the top ropes with style.

 

Man on Wire provided us a great look at the World Trade Center in it’s heyday as well as a candid portrait of a Frenchie street performer.

 

After the failure of The Mummy:  Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, maybe Brendan Fraser will be coaxed into retiring from the Constantly Mugging Archeologist Battling CGI Monsters genre.

So far this year has been a blast with My Bloody Valentine 3-D and Taken and with such promising fare as Wolverine, Terminator:  Salvation and Friday the 13th coming down the chute, it looks like '09 will be another stellar year for cinemagoers.

I'm Mitch Lovell and I'll see you at the movies...

FIGHTING MAD (1978) ***

James (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) Inglehart stars as a soldier smuggling gold in from Vietnam that gets stabbed in the back and left for dead by his dirty partners.  He washes ashore on a desert island inhabited only by two Japanese soldiers (Who think that WWII is still going on!) who nurse him back to health and train him in the ways of the samurai!  They teach James to swing a samurai sword “like Joe DiMaggio” to cut cocoanuts and a lot of other Mr. Miyagi type shit.  While James was away, his partners used the gold to finance a personal mob war to carve out their own turf.  One of the baddies (Penitentiary’s Leon Isaac Kennedy) even roughs up James’ wife a little bit.  James soon returns home to the USA wielding his samurai sword looking for revenge and hacks everybody up real good.

 

I was actually a bit surprised how much I liked this flick.  It’s a quirky mix of blaxploitation and samurai movies and even works really well as just a straight-up revenge picture.  Director Cirio H. Santiago can do just about anything in my book.  From TNT Jackson to She Devils in Chains, this guy has done some really great stuff and Fighting Mad is one of his best.  Santiago delivers on the action and gives us a lot of fast paced shootouts and a couple rousing swordfights.  Fighting Mad also features one of the finest Kung Fu in a barbershop fight scenes ever committed to film.  Santiago even sprinkles in a little bit of gore into the mix too.  There are a lot of decapitated heads (Inglehart even gift-wraps one of them) as well as a few fine shots of juicy spurting neck stumps.

 

The acting is better than you’d expect and helps to elevate the film from the usual B Movie fare.  Inglehart is excellent and physically intimidating and Leon Isaac Kennedy makes for a suitably slimy villain.  Kennedy’s wife, Jayne Kennedy (who was such a bitch that she made poor Leon take HER last name when they got married) is also quite good as Inglehart’s long suffering wife.  She also sings (not badly) too.  Pilipino action fans should also get a kick out of seeing veteran character actor Vic Diaz in a small role as well.

 

Fighting Mad is no classic or anything but it’s better than most Kung Fu oriented blaxploitation movies that were being made around the same time.  As a bonus, you also get a smorgasbord of great dialogue like, “The only brother is the man on the back of a dollar bill… and he ain’t black!”, “If he dies, do I get my bed back?”, and the immortal, “Those mother humpers!”

 

AKA:  Death Force.

RETURN OF THE KUNG FU DRAGON (1976) **

An evil emperor invades the Kingdom of Phoenix and kills the king and queen and claims the throne for himself.  The princess is just a little kid, so arrangements are made for her to slip out the back door undetected away from the fighting.  The king’s bodyguard drops her off at a wizard’s mountain and he agrees to keep the kid there for 19 years.  In that time, he trains her to be a Kung Fu expert so she can eventually go back to town and get revenge on the asshole who murdered her parents.

 

This middle-of-the-road Kung Fu flick starts off on the right note with a lot of action.  We get a bunch of Kung Fu, swordplay, and there’s even a decent storming the castle scene in there too.  The problem with Return of the Kung Fu Dragon is that once the chick grows up, the movie starts to drag.  Oh sure, there is plenty of Kung Fu scenes; it’s just that the fights gets a bit repetitive and none of the action scenes aren’t especially memorable or exciting.  Another debit is the atrocious editing.  Seriously folks, it looks like this thing was edited with a hacksaw.  The narrative hops around more than a Mexican jumping bean and while the story isn’t exactly hard to follow, locations often change more than once in the same scene; which is pretty jarring to say the least.

 

There is some good stuff sprinkled throughout that will keep you watching however.  I particularly liked the bad guy who used his ZZ Top beard as a weapon and there was a crazy/funny/WTF Kung Fu midget that looked like a cross between Linda Hunt and Bjork who kept things rather lively.  Return of the Kung Fu Dragon is no Crippled Masters or anything but die hard Kung Fu fans might enjoy spending 82 minutes of their lives on it.

THE IMAGE OF BRUCE LEE (1978) ***

Bruce Li, one of the best of the Bruce Lee imitators stars in this action flick as the head of a Special Rescue Squad who blows a big assignment and soon has to beat up everybody on his entire team just cuz.  After that good natured ass-kicking, Bruce gets another assignment:  bring down a multi-national counterfeiting ring led by Bolo Yeung.  Approximately 78 Kung Fu fights later, Bruce gets the counterfeit plates back and saves the day.

 

At first, The Image of Bruce Lee seems like it’s going to be a bad Bruceploitation movie.  The first scene has Li wearing the same get-up as Lee did in Game of Death.  Then we’re introduced to Bolo, the villain who we all know played the main henchman in Enter the Dragon.  But something unexpected happens about halfway through.  It actually becomes pretty good Kung Fu flick and features tons and tons of crazy fight scenes. 

 

The thing I dug about The Image of Bruce Lee is that the movie uses ANY excuse to have a Kung Fu fight scene.  I mean Bruce will just be driving down the street and see the bad guy on the other side of the yellow line and instead of having a car chase; they both pull over to the side of the road to engage in fisticuffs.  Really, it’s nothing for Bruce to walk into a dojo and take on everybody in the place just for shits and giggles.  In the film’s nuttiest scene though, Kung Fu is used as a source of foreplay (!) and the girl winds up with a bruised titty!  Incredible.  In fact there’s a completely random fight scene every five minutes in this movie, which is something you have to respect, I don’t care who you are.

 

All of this does get a bit numbing after awhile though.  While some of the fight scenes are wonderfully ludicrous (like the cool scene where Li goes to grab somebody from falling off a roof and pulls off the dude’s artificial limb, which sends the poor dope plummeting to his death), others are simply routinely choreographed filler.  That’s okay though.  I still got to give it up to Bruce for pulling out all the stops and taking on about 275 disposable henchmen throughout the course of the movie.

 

AKA:  Storming Attacks.