Monday, March 26, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: Black Moon Rising (1986)

"I am *wide* open for suggestions right now!" - Quint

"Don't fuck with the government!" - Johnson

"There's a nice mugshot, now how about a profile?" - Quint

This is one of the baddest movies I've watched in a long time. I thought I'd seen most everything connected with John Carpenter, but sometimes, a neat little hidden gem like this will come along. The reason most JC fans haven't heard of this one is because he didn't direct it, he was one of the writers. But who cares! Its a great movie even if it has nothing to do with him! Young hilarious Tommy Lee Jones, Linda "my hair is always horrible" Hamilton, Bubba "hightower" Smith, Lee Ving!, and Robert Vaughn in BLACK MOON RISING!!!

Talk about badass. A young, lean and mean Tommy Lee Jones plays Quint, a man in some kind of debt to the government. It leads you to believe since he's a professional thief that he's stolen something from them and their agent Bubba Smith, and in return to get out of jail time, he must steal something for them in return. When the flick begins, Quint witnesses a young kid try to rob the gas station he's in, and hilariously talks him out of it. If this is the scene he read for that helped him win the role from the likes of Jeff Bridges and whoever else was considered for it, I understand why. This is an early moment of that charming wit and wry one-liners that Jones became known for.

So Quint has to steal this cassette from this place and he successfully does so. But he also has some competition in Lee Ving, another contracted thief, who REALLY wants this cassette. They're constantly fighting throughout the flick... one scene has Ving and his goons beat Quint senseless for a good ten minutes, slamming his head in a car door, kicking him over and over and over, until he pulls a gun out from under his 5.0 and blows one of their faces off. So, in his desperation to get away from Ving and secure the tape successfully back to the pigs, he hides it in the license plate of an experimental car that is being taken to some car show. He then follows the car to the show in hopes of recovering the tape.

Unluckily for him, Linda Hamilton just rolled into town with about 25 car thieves and while everyone is wining and dining in the hotel lobby, they steal every single one of the fancy cars, and hide them in a huge skyscraper complex that either chops them or sells them to people overseas or some shit. This organization is headed by Robert Vaughn who basically kidnapped Hamilton when she was a runaway teenage car thief. Quint follows her and sees what's happened, and offers the owners of the "Black Moon" a chance to get their car back if they'll help him. They say fuck that, then realize there's no way in Hell they can get the car back without his help, after their mute mechanic (William Sanderson!!) is run over and killed by some goons.

Quint wins over and bangs Linda Hamilton and she falls for him because she knows her shitty boss has manipulated her for years. The boss has creepy tapes of her from when she was young and secretly wants to bang her but he's such a creep she would never go for it. Quint hatches a plan, gets some dude to give him schematics of the building and teaches the black moon crew how to be cat burglars. He scales one whole building and then still has the strength in him to do the old "arrow building to building rope slide" move. TUFF!!! And finally it comes to a showdown where they have to get the car out of the top of the second building (WHICH IS -BY THE WAY- WHERE THE DUDE WHO WROTE 'TOWER HEIST' STOLE HIS IDEA FROM except for he didn't even finish writing that movie which is why is was such a piece of shit) and faced with no other choice, they floor it and crash through the window Dukes of Hazzarding it through the window into the first building! FUCKING AWESOME! I highly recommend this one, and you can watch in now streaming instantly on Netflix.... word.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: Terror In The Swamp (1985)

"I don't know but we're trying like Hell to find out." - Frank

"Well it sounds like BULLSHIT to me" - old man

"I don't know but I sure hope we've seen the last of its kind." - Frank

WOW. This one is BAD. But... again, something persuaded me to sit through it. And even though it was grade A garbage, there was at least SOMETHING to it. I'm not sure exactly what, but it wasn't a bad story. I think maybe it was the acting and the budget. But, the story was not bad, and there's something to be said for that. Having SAID that, it still SUCKS. Filmed entirely on location somewhere in the swamps of Louisiana, this movie is so rough that it makes 1985 look like 1972. And that's no bullshit. Watch the clip below and see for yourself. There's no trailer for this thing laying around anywhere, so you'll have to get the gist from this. Starring a bunch of nobodies, and a man named Billie Holliday (who is just some guy with a famous woman singer's name) we bring you TERROR IN THE SWAMP!!!

When this begins there's literally about a 7 or 8 minute POV shot from the "terror" of the swamp. He skulking and lurking around and breathing heavy, you guessed it, in the swamp. After we finally establish that point, he murdalizes a drunk hunter in the shadows of the darkness. The next day a swamp ranger named Frank is alerted to some disturbance in the area. He goes to inspect and finds all kinds of trouble awaiting him. Enter T-Bob and Jesse, two bumbling fur trapper brothers (who run moonshine with their pa on the side). They figure something is amiss and decide to kill whatever it is. They think its some kind of bear. Frank radios the cops and then they meet up about 15 times for coffee at the coffee shop inside of the local motel.

There are some really strange asides in the movie, like Frank walking by families and saying hello before going to the cop meeting. I guess its meant to show us that this is a small community where everyone knows each other. As if you couldn't tell that for any other reason. It turns out that there are two scientist dudes, an old one and a young nerd guy who are being paid to experiment on animals down there in the swamp to try to come up with a faster way to breed and collect A LOT of cheap fur for these greasy dudes to sell in Mexico. The Mexicans meet with the scientists and tell them they need some motherfucking RESULTS NOW, or they're going to cut the scientists funding. The scientists talk to each other and we realize the younger one has fucked up somewhere along the line and injected waaaay too much growth hormone into a common Newtria (swamp rat).

So we have this Super Nutria walking around killing people in the swamp. They want to keep hunters away from trying to go out there and kill it (for their own safety), but word spreads and the hunters drink A LOT of beer and get in their boats and split from the one dock in search of the monster before the bumbling youngest cop can stop them. The hunters getting drunk to kill is reminiscent of the beginning scene in DAWN OF THE DEAD when all the rednecks are traipsing through the fields in Pittsburgh drinking Straub's and IC beer. Or whatever it was. I can't remember. Anyway, these rednecks are no different. They're likely drinking Abita and getting psyched to kill the Gator man or bigfoot or whatever the hell is threatening their precious swamp turf.

Frank calls in a favor with the local farm pesticide plane guy who flys up and down the river back and forth over and over again dumping shit on the hunters so they'll leave the area. The music playing might as well have been the "da da dut da da" BENNIE HILL theme song. Its a break in a lot of monotony. So eventually the Nutria Man gets Jesse & TBob's dad, and then he gets the others except for Jesse. There's a voodoo lady that basically gets revenge for nature (?) by tricking the scientists in walking into quicksand so they die. I'm pretty sure that's more for fucking up her weird swamp house than talking over her head while she's with them like she's not even there. But, who knows? Oh yeah, Frank blows up this trailer that the Nutria man is hiding in and it goes sky high. With 90% of the budget. The End (?) You hope. Should you see this? No. It would be really hard to find a copy and you'd be SUPER pissed that you wasted your precious time doing so.

At long last!!! Rocknowledgy episode 28 is finally up!!

After a few week hiatus, we are finally back with episode 28! thanx to all of the Thorriors and Rocknowledgists who came out to see us the last few weeks. See you all at SXSW! And European Thorriors, see you all soon!! Here we go!


Episode 28 playlist:

Intro by T-6000,
Caltrop- Blessed,
Lungfish- The Words,
The Queers- You're Tripping,
Guided By Voices- Doughnut For a Snowman,
The Flaming Lips- Superhumans,
Sam Gopal- Grass,
Stereolab- Percolator,
Silkworm- Treat the New Guy Right,
The Beach Boys- Surf's Up,
Continent- Black As Night,
Foreign Objects- Decline,
The Obits- Pine On,
Gregory Isaacs- Leggo Beast,
Spacemen 3- Revolution,
Outro by T-6000,
Sparks- This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us.

Monday, March 12, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: Labyrinth (1986)

"Oh, believe me, that's enough! But the worst thing is, if you so much as set a foot in the Bog of Stench, you'll smell bad for the rest of your life. It'll never wash off." - Hoggle

"It's a crystal. Nothing more. But if you turn it this way and look into it, it will show you your dreams. But this is not a gift for an ordinary girl who takes care of a screaming baby." - Jareth

"*Everything*! Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that the child be taken. I took him. You cowered before me, I was frightening. I have reordered time. I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for *you*! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?" - Jareth

Jareth: You remind me of the babe.
Goblin: What babe?
Jareth: The babe with the power.
Goblin: What power?
Jareth: The power of voodoo.
Goblin: Who do?
Jareth: You do.
Goblin: Do what?
Jareth: Remind me of the babe. (BEGINNING OF THE WORST SONG IN HISTORY...or nearabouts)

So, here we have the 2nd collaboration between George Lucas and Jim Henson (a personal hero). First they did THE DARK CRYSTAL, and then they pulled this "similar in its dark mysticism" flick off- only this time using real live humans. AND they used a chick who would become a world class hottie as of her appearance in CAREER OPPORTUNITIES (Check THAT one out! That whitey tighty shirt on her big bust is essential teen fantasy cream dream type shit. But I digress), Jennifer Connelly!!! And some dude named David Bowie starring in LABYRINTH!!!!

This one will probably be in the "best of childhood" category for a bunch of characters out there. I'd have to say that I remember this one fondly, however, I don't want to blow it out of proportion. Upon reviewing it after all these years, it REALLY reminds me of THE WIZARD OF OZ. However, it stands alone on its own merits specifically The Henson families unbelievable talent. They built their biggest muppet ever on this one, and designed and developed new technology just to pull off many of the scenes and stunts. The plot is as follows. A young girl, tired of how her stepmother is constantly treating her like shit, and making her do (very ordinary, typical) things that girls have to do, chants a spell out of an old fairytale book, unknowingly unleashing very real goblins to dispatch to her home and kidnap her baby brother and take him away to "Jareth" the Goblin King. What a little bitch! That's the lesson here, kids today are so goddamned spoiled that they should be faced with losing something (perhaps a sibling) for all their horseshit and bellowing.

So, when the baby disappears, Jareth gives her the option to get her baby brother back but she'll have to solve his personal garden labyrinth first, AND she only has 13 hours to do it in. So she's transported to this thing and she meets this grumpy little asshole named Hoggle and he's pissing in a creek. I loved that part as a kid. He tells her he can't help her, but she splits anyway, and almost figures out the right path by way of a worm, but it warns her against going to where she wants to go. Then Hoggle tries to help her out but he's scared he'll piss off Jareth and become the Prince of the Bog of Stench. So he's a spineless little asshole to boot. Then they meet this big monster dude named Ludo who can summon rocks up from the ground.

Then she sort of get separated from her gang and these reggae chicken kangaroo things called the Fire Gang who can take their heads and legs and arms off try to do the same to her, and she barely escapes them. Then her and Hoggle meet up with Ludo at the Bog of Eternal Stench and meet another little fox dude named Sir Didamus who rides on a real dog. Its pretty funny. So then Hoggle- the little jerk- reluctantly gives Sarah a peach that makes her pass out and go into a floating ball and it transports her to a ballroom where Jareth (who is definitely way older than her) tries to seduce this 13-14 year old. FUCKED UP. But then a clock strikes and she remembers she's supposed to be saving her brother, not dry humping 40 something androgenous rock stars. So she's transported back to her Wizard of Oz type gang and they find the goblin city and get in a fight with a bunch of goblins. This huge brick wall Muppet tries to axe them to death, but betrayer Hoggle comes to the rescue and jumps on its head sending it crashing (bickkedy-bam) to the ground.

Then Sarah goes to find her brother and she finds him crawling around and Jareth singing a bad song in MC Esher's staircase room. ARTISTIC. So Jareth just ups and asks her to spend eternity with him, but she recites some old poem that she finally remembers, the last line being- "you have no power over me". Then finally she gets back and she's not mad at her step mother and then she parties in her room with the muppets, and then Jareth is in owl mode outside the window, and then spurned, he flies away into the night. Should you see this? You already should have.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)

"Ooh, bazonkers! I never counted on bazonkers." - Ugly Hattie

" Is good, ya? Is funny?" - Fejos

"Do you smell perfume?"
"Yes. I know what was in this room."
"The Creature from Estee Lauder." - Gil and Jack

This is a funny little movie that always seemed to me like it was a Mel Brooks movie that Mel Brooks didn't do. Meaning its very "Mel Brooks". Super funny, super punny. Lots of big name cast and hilarious cameos. Jeff Goldblum, Ed Begley Jr, Michael Richards, Jeffery Jones, Geena Davis, AND (yet another movie with) OGRE from REVENGE OF THE NERDS all starring in TRANSYLVANIA 6-5000!!!

This is one of those either you love it or hate it yuck em up flixxx. The kind that I usually love. Aaaannnnd this was no different. It has a million cameos and a super simple plot that does a great job of not revealing itself til the end. Since its different doing comedies than other types of flicks, and I don't like to spoil flicks.... unless you're never going to watch them anyway... i won't give the whole thing away. But to give you the gist: Gil (Begley) and Jack (Goldblum) are reporters who work at a local rag that's a lot like Weekly World News. Gil's dad owns it, and he'll do anything to look good in his old man's eyes. Jack doesn't give a shit, he just wants to make quality writing so that he can move up in the journalistic world. He sees this as a stepping stone on the way to a bigger career. Gil's old man gets a video of some kids getting fucked up by a Frankenstein monster. He thinks its real, and he wants Gil and Jack to go to Transylvania to investigate. "Where's Transylvania?" "I don't know... over there somewhere."

Jack thinks this is complete bullshit, but he can't afford to get fired, so he goes along. They arrive in Transylvania and meet up with the mayor (Jeffery Jones) and this weird ass butler (Michael Richards) and decide that the town is wonderful and very cute. Jack immediately meets some hot broad, I can't remember her name, but she's Jackie Gleason's hot ass wife from THE TOY. He chases her around while Gil starts asking the locals about Frankenstein. Everyone laughs in his face, and he almost gets laughed out of town until Jack comes and rushes him out of there and back to check in to their hotel.

That night in the hotel, Geena Davis as a super hot nympho vampiress comes into Gil's room and tries to suck his blood. There are various other monster's that start showing up: A mummy, a wolfman, a creature from the black lagoon, you get the idea. So Jack finally sees something weird is going on and him and Gil do a little more investigating looking for this dude who is supposedly locked up in the koo koo house. There's a hunchback guy named Radu who has a maid/cook/girlfriend who chases him around and won't stop bothering him. She's the 2nd angel that visits Bill Murray in SCROOGED. Anyway they are very Mel Brooks'ed out if you know what I mean.

Ok, I can't tell you anymore or it will give away the end, but suffice to say- I thought that Goldblum was going to play the goofball, but instead he played the straight man. Usually he plays the weirdo. So that threw me for a loop. Its a pretty great underrated flick. If you're looking for Comedy/Horror, heavy on the cheese, look no further. Should you watch? Yes. With a pretty girl.