Thursday, June 28, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: Videodrome (1983)

"The battle for the mind of North America will be fought in the video arena: the Videodrome. The television screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore, television is reality, and reality is less than television." - Father O'Blivion

"Death to Videodrome! Long live The New flesh!" - Max Renn

"You'll forgive me if I don't stay around to watch. I just can't cope with the freaky stuff. " - Barry Convex

Cronenberg's hi-tech sci fi horror thriller! A great companion piece to SCANNERS, Cronenberg was the cream of the crop when it came to freaky deaky in the early eighties. A flick that seems like 120 minute dream sequence starring James Woods and Debbie Harry, I present to you VIDEODROME!!!

Max Renn is the sleazy station manager of a low budget Toronto indie television station CIVIC TV. He's one of those guys who'll do anything for ratings and he knows that sex and violence is what the people want. So he's always on the look out for the creepy shit that is his bread and butter. He has a nerd dude who works for him that seeks out fucked up signals from one of those old school satellite dishes with feeds from all over the world. His nerd finds him a weak signal of a torture show from what they think is Malaysia called Videodrome.

Come to find out that Malaysian signal was just to throw people off the scent and the signal was really coming from... wait for it... PITTSBURGH!! So Max Renn is invited on this local talk show (presumably on some other channel). He's a guest with a guy who only appears via televised recorded(?) tapes named Father O'blivion and this hot chick named Nicki (Debbie Harry !!) who is like a radio self help lady. Max Renn immediately hits on her after her only giving a hint that she may be into some wild shit. Good call by him because she turns out to be a fucking CUTTER!!! Whoops! Nothing says head trip as fast as an arm full of cut marks. While they're flirting, the Father basically lays out the way television actually works here NOW in 2012 speaking about television and reality and reality television. PROPHETIC!!

So Max gets his nerd to record some Videodrome. He shows Nicky who turns out to be a straight up full on sadomasichist. She wants him to cut her and then burn her and all kinds of shit. She's super turned on by the torture shown in the Videodrome tape. Max gets so into this footage that he thinks he needs the rights to the show to broadcast it. He tries to get his friend to search it out for him by his friend who sells him shows. She finds out its real shit, and reluctantly gives him the name of the dude who MAY be able to help him get the footage he craves. Father O'blivion!!! Next thing you know, Nicky claims she has work to do down in Pittsburgh and she tells Max that she may go audition for the show. He warns her not to, but he can tell there's NO WAY this crazy bitch is going to listen to him.

Max seeks Father O'blivion. He meets the Father's daughter at the "Cathode Ray" Mission where homeless people are sheltered to watch television. She explains that her father won't meet with anyone in person. But the next day, Max receives a tape that "breathes". He has a vision that a slit is in his own torso. Later we figure out that this is to fit "living" VHS tapes in. He freaks out and O'blivion's daughter tells him her father has been dead for like 2 years, and that his answers will come from a man named Barry Convex. BUT she warns him to leave it all alone, but basically tells him Videodrome is a virus and that he is already infected, but gives him a bunch of tapes of her dad philosophizing crazily. Max seeks out Barry. He finds out his nerd was a plant to get him into Videodrome and to USE him to propagate its own nefarious plans. He tells him that they planned the whole thing and that his hallucinations would only get more intense but they wanted to video them so they may be able to help him. He agrees then has even worse ones. The whole plan is to give brain tumors (the same that killed O'blivion) to the scum of the Earth who would watch such stuff. So then Barry Convex puts a VHS in the slit in Max's chest and it makes him kill all his coworkers and then he goes on the lamb. He tries to kill O'blivian's daughter, but she somehow talks him out of it, and convinces him that he needs to kill the people who created Videodrome to stop it, which means killing Convex. So Max tracks him down and blows him away and his guts just bubble out of him like some alien was inside of him. Plus I forgot that the tape inside him made him lose a gun in his belly, only to find it later and it attach itself to his hand... PLUS that chick Nicky was already dead before he met her (somehow!) and also he killed his own nerd before he got Barry. Finally, he splits to hide on a boat but then Nicky appears to him on a tv that's on this old rotten boat somehow, telling him to kill himself. It shows him doing it, and then guts spill out of the tv, and then he says- "long live the new flesh" and blows his brains out. Should you check it out??? YES man! get on it!! On Netflix instant right now.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rocknowledgy Episode 32 is UP! Recorded in Minneapolis!!

YO! Alahoyus one and all! Hello to you all from the road! Recorded this week's episode at The Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, MN over the best vegan sloppy joe I've ever had. Thank you guys for the kudos and the love you've shown for the podcast out here on the road. Sorry that the episodes take so long to produce these days... I'll try to do better. But I do have a lovely show for you today with many new jams, some even to me. Thanks to Melissa for making me a mix and turning me on to new jams. Even the best teachers and professors can learn from the students. Not to say that I'm the best or anything... but I digress. Damn. I should've cranked some Prince this week too since we're in Minneapolis, but too late now... Oh well, there's always next time. Don't worry tho, I showed em some love. Download or stream, crank it up and kick back jack. Thank you all from me and the T-6000!!!

CLICK RIGHT HERE to go to the download page, or subscribe via ITunes and get yer jams in a timely fashion!!

Episode 32 Playlist:

T6K- intro,
Troyka- Berry Picking,
The Replacements- I Hate Music,
Larry Wallis- On Parole,
The Walker Brothers- Nite Flights,
The Hellacopters- Baby Borderline,
2Pac- Souljah's Revenge,
7 Seconds- Out of Touch,
Black Eyes- Letter to Raoul Peck,
Wreckless Eric- (I'd Go The) Whole Wide World,
Colonel Abrams- Trapped,
Medications- Long Day,
Lee Fields & The Expressions- I Still Got It,
Dope Body- Weird Mirror,
Death- Scavenger Of Human Sorrow,
The Velvet Underground- New Age,
Guided By Voices- Car Language,
Paul Giovanni- Corn Riggs,
T6K- outro,
Berzilla Wallin - Conversation with Death

Friday, June 22, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: The Lord of Illusions (1995)

"I was born to murder the world." - Nix

"You ever watched a man die? If you watch very closely, you can sometimes see the soul escaping. And if you're very quick, you can catch it." - Butterfield

"I've got so much power to give you, Swann. All you have to do is beg." - Nix

"Oh, yeah. I signed on for all of them in my time. Catholic, Hindu, Moonies. You can't have too many saviors." - Harry

now THIS is a pretty sick flick. I had been going light, checking out things on my "never seen" list. Things that weren't necessarily bad or awesome, or both. Just "must see"- "kind of both" type deals. But here we have genuinely awesome yet somehow still bad movie. Equally strange in both areas with a cast of "oh yeah that guy's". A low note on Clive Barker's pole, only because its not as famous as say HELLRAISER, but don't discount this as anything less than an amazing piece of time well spent. The totally beautiful Famke Janssen, ol "Quantum Leap" Scott Bakula, the head military school guy from "Malcolm in the Middle", and the fake brother of Daniel Day Lewis from THERE WILL BE BLOOD all star in THE LORD OF ILLUSIONS!!!

Ok, so the first five minutes of this flick had me hooked. Its the best first five minutes of a movie I've watched in a super long time. There's this dude named Nix out in the desert in 1982 who has a cult willing to die for him. He says he has "the power" and tells them that they should start calling him "the Puritan". The dude is tossing a fireball back and forth. They have a kidnapped girl chained up and some kind of huge monkey, the kind with a painted looking face and a big ass. The Puritan is sicking the monkey on the girl and the cult peeps are smearing blood on their faces. Then we see this car hauling ass toward the compound where they're all holed up. This really creepy young dude named Butterfield with mismatched eyes runs to warn Nix that someone named Swann is coming. Swann & some other EX cult peeps think Nix has gone too far and are coming to rescue the girl. They bust in with guns and split up to confront Nix. Swann finds him and he swoops down from the ceiling and touches Swann making him see his friends as monsters. He drops his gun though and the girl picks it up and blasts Nix through the chest. Then Swann gets this weird magic mask and screws it onto Nix's face and then they bury him in the desert so deep no one will ever find him. Butterfield escapes.

Ok, so fast forward to 1995 and there's this PI named Harry who has a backstory about investigating the occult. He's seen some heavy shit, and a buddy offers him a job that is on the lighter side to get him out of the city and out of his own self contained psychosis for awhile. So he goes to investigate this insurance fraud dude and follows him to a fortune teller. The dude runs out of the place like he saw a ghost almost knocking Harry down, so Harry goes in to investigate. He sees the fortune teller strapped to a chair and stabbed almost to death with a shitload of knives, and then this crazy strong UGLY mongoloid dude runs out of the corner and they have a knockdown dragout fight. We figure out that the fortune teller is one of the ex cult dudes. And then after Harry beats up the mongoloid, we see a dude who is a grown up Butterfield questioning the fortune teller. The mongoloid gets up and Harry throws him out the window where we think "well, that dudes dead". Butterfield runs off as he must often do. The fortune teller warns Harry that the Puritan is coming. Harry tells the cops but they think he's crazy because even the mongoloid is gone from where he fell.

Swann is now a famous magician that does nightly shows in LA, and when he finds out that his bud was killed, he sends his creepy looking assistant to hire the guy that found his bud (at the suggestion of his hot wife, who turns out to be the kidnapped little girl- CREEPY...). So the hot wife puts Harry on the case and invites him to see her husband perform. Swann is performing a new escape trick that night and he fucks it up and gets impaled and dies. Doing some investigating and suspecting foul play, Harry finds the mongoloid and Butterfield under the stage. They try to fight him and Harry fucking guts the mongoloid and he actually finally dies (I believe on accident). So, Harry goes to the "Magic Castle" in LA, which is now an old hotel (in real life). He questions and provokes all the magicians pissing most of them off except this Asian one named Billy Inferno. Billy tells him he thinks Swann was using REAL magic he learned from Nix instead of the normal illusions associated with the trade of "magicians".

So Harry looks for the rest of the people that Swann and Nix used to hang out with. He visits this one girl who was with them in 82, mentions Nix, and she runs out in the street and gets hit by a car. Then he goes back to the wife and questions her till she spills the beans about the whole thing. Then he fucks her. So then a man on fire attacks him, and Harry thinks something is up with Swann's weird assistant. So he checks his coffin and finds out that the body is a fake. Then he sees Swann at his own funeral and follows him into a drainage ditch. Swann is pissed cause Harry banged his chick so he keeps attacking him with magic, but then Harry is like, "come on man, we have to stop this Nix guy...", and so they team up. Butterfield beats up the weird assistant and kidnaps the wife. He convinces the assistant to show him where Nix is buried and then he fucking digs him up and takes that mask off. He takes him back to the old house in the desert and the old gang of cult freaks show up to help resurrect Nix. Harry and Swann show up to try to rescue the chick. Nix tells all the freaks to break glass and get down on their knees and get ready to hear his wisdom. Then he floats with the chick and turns the ground to quicksand and the freaks melt down into it, and then he turns it hard again, killing and trapping them in place, exclaiming that Swann is the only one worthy of hearing his wisdom. Harry in the nick of time saves the chick before she's dropped in a hole, but then Butterfield comes after them. Harry fucking wastes him. Then Swann tells Nix he'll be his dude but Nix is like, "bullshit" and then he gives Harry the monstervision. The chick grabs Harry's gun and shoots Nix through the head and he turns into a demon. Swann & Harry shoot magic at Nix and he falls into the hole brimming with lava. Swann dies, and Harry and the chick escape before the whole house is sucked by a tornado into the ground forever. Should you watch this? Totally. Its on Netflix instant right now. Make it happen. Alakazam!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: Jurassic Park (1993)

"Dodgson, Dodgson, we have Dodgson here! See? Nobody cares. Nice hat! What are ya tryin' to look like - a secret agent? " - Nedry

"I'm always on the lookout for the future ex-Mrs. Malcolm." - Dr. Malcolm

"That's not very scary. More like a six-foot Turkey." - Boy

"I don't believe it. I don't believe it! You were meant to come down here and defend me against these characters, and the only one I've got on my side is the blood-sucking lawyer!" - Hammond

Way back when this came out, I couldn't give a shit about it. Its pretty strange, because I've always loved dinosaurs, but this one really seemed like a lame concept to me. Dinosaur island. Great. I'm calling bullshit. Didn't Sid and Marty Kroft already try this back when David Attenborough was competing with Telly Savalas when he was pimping "Mutual of Omaha's WILD KINGDOM"? I figured you couldn't get any better than LAND OF THE LOST, so I said fuck it, and never watched it until a few weeks back. I was wrong. This movie is pretty badass. You have Sam Neill, David Attenborough, Laura Dern, Samuel L Jackson, and Jeff Goldblum AND an extended cameo by fucking Newman from SEINFELD- all starring in JURASSIC PARK!!!

(I made a few mistakes in the original edit of this review. Thanks to Erica Bernstein for calling me out.)

So when the story begins a bunch of workers are unloading crates of some kind of animal to some pens. We of course know its a dinosaur because we either saw a trailer or the logo when the movie came on... let's be real. A worker gets killed. Cut to a scene where Sam and Laura are paleontologists working on an important dig. A few moments later a helicopter comes swooping down and ruins weeks of digging and research. They are super pissed until they see its some fat little guy who offers them a gig that will pay for their next whole year of research. They are psyched. Then they fly to a remote island with the old guy and a few other scientists.

So we have 2 dino experts, a mathmatician (Goldblum), a lawyer who is VERY adamant about making sure everything is up to snuff safety-wise - UNTIL he sees the dinosaurs and utters, "we're gonna make a fortune with this thing." They see a bracheosaurus and are all amazed. Laura Dern stops to help a sick triceratops. The others plan to go view the park in these motorized jeeps on tracks. Also they have to bring along the old man's grandkids. There's some kind of paternal struggle hinted at with Sam Neill. He doesn't like kids and freaks out on one in the beginning of the movie, and is clearly annoyed by the prospect of having to semi-babysit these grandkids while on business. Laura Dern thinks its hilarious that they love him. Meanwhile, fucking Newman has a scheme of his own going on. He's getting paid off by a rival of the old man's company to steal samples of the dino DNA. They create the dino DNA by extracting DNA from blood that mosquitos sucked from dinos out of the sap from 1000 year old fossilized trees. Newman can't get anything done that they need him to do because he's too busy shutting the system down so that he can escape and hacking their network- locking it up- covering his tracks so no one can find out what he's done or even find him until he is long gone and wealthy. Unfortunately he didn't expect or wasn't paying attention to the fucking HEAVY DUTY storm that blows through seemingly out of nowhere.

So Newman bursts out of the park as fast as he can go, turning down all the fences so he can escape. He's shitting his pants to get out of there in a hurry and its storming so bad, he fucks up and drives off into a ditch and wrecks his jeep. He loses his glasses, gets venom spit into his eyes and then gets eaten by a dinosaur inside of the jeep. T Rex gets loose and he smells blood. The lawyer splits from one of the jeeps and gets eaten while he's hiding out in the shitter. The other jeeps are squished and the kids are rescued by Sam. We think that Goldblum is killed but somehow he survives. The scientists and Goldblum escape in one jeep while Sam and the kids hide from T Rex up a tree. They get Samuel L Jackson to reboot the whole park's security grid, hoping it will reboot. He goes to flip a switch and ends up with his bloody arm in Laura Dern's hands while she screams and is chased by these made up mini velociraptors. They are fast and smart and blood thirsty. Also even though they are all females, somehow they are breeding. This is bad news for our heroes.

Getting chased all the way back to the head bunker Sam and the kids escape by the skin of their teeth, hiding in the kitchen and pulling some stealth moves. Turns out the little girl is a "hacker" who knows "linux". She fixes the security grid. LUCKY. Also the little boy almost gets electrocuted to death. In the end, the fucking T Rex actually saves everyone by eating the velociraptors that are about to kill them all. Goldblum helps everyone escape in a helicopter and they tell the old man he's fucked if he thinks they're going to endorse his park. I'm thinking of watching the sequels. You should watch this one. I was wrong about it, its pretty good. I'm sure the sequels won't be as good, but that's the whole point of this column. Rooowwwarrrrr.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: Weird Science (1985)

"You're stewed, buttwad!" - Chet

"Gary?... By the way, why are we wearing bras on our heads?" - Wyatt
"Ceremonial." - Gary

"You know, there's going to be sex, drugs, rock-n-roll... chips, dips, chains, whips... You know, your basic high school orgy type of thing. I mean, uh, I'm not talking candlewax on the nipples, or witchcraft or anything like that, no, no, no. Just a couple of hundred kids running around in their underwear, acting like complete animals." - Lisa

This movie rules. There's nothing really bad about it at all. Its deep within our collective consciousness now. Even the furtherest on the edge style hermits have seen this one. Maybe I'd consider the USA television series bad, but this can't be f'd with. The reason I'm throwing it in here is because recently I watched it over and over for a benefit prom party I threw for a buddy. The prom was set in 1986 and the theme was "WEIRD SCIENCE". So there's a bunch of pics in here to follow. Anthony Michael Hall, super on fire hot Kelly Labrock, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Bill Paxton, and Robert Downey Jr round out the cast with a cameo by THE HILLS HAVE EYES creeper Michael Berryman all in the name of WEIRD SCIENCE!!!!

Wyatt and Gary are the typical high school nerds. And I mean "nerd" in the old school sense of the word nerd, where the only friends you might have are a few other ragtag band of nerds at school that no one else will sit with at the lunch table. Nowadays, I feel like nerds are the most prized. All the glamorizing of nerds over the years paid off, and now nerds get as much ass as jocks. Hahaha. I hate to put it in those "terms"... but that's simply how it is, not only because of what went through the original "nerds" minds, but if you look at movies like this and REVENGE OF THE NERDS, those who were along the social sidelines, were always daydreaming of being popular or being with the "hot" girl or the "hunky" guy. In the beginning of this one, Wyatt and Gary are standing in the gym watching the chicks work out, daydreaming of being popular and scoring with them, when 2 popular dickheads pants them and split making fools out of our protagonists.

Cut to a scene where they are at Gary's house. They have the house all to themselves for the weekend because his folks are out of town (to meet his sister's fiance). The only one they have to watch out for is Gary's older asshole brother Chet (Paxton). They're watching Frankenstein (as dudes tend to do) and Wyatt comes up with the idea of building a super hot girl that will do anything they say with Gary's super nerd computer setup (as dudes tend to do). Not much preparation goes into it, but somehow with a barbie doll, the computer, a few hours boob design, and some ceremonial bras on their heads, they pull it off. Naming her Lisa after a girl Gary was in love with once, so begins an adventure they'll never forget.

Lisa somehow has magical powers to seemingly make anything she needs appear out of thin air. Clothes, cars, fake ids, you name it. She tries to get the boys to shower with her and party her up, but they're too intimidated to do anything. So she takes them out on the town to a blues club and gets them wasted. Chet busts them coming home, and Gary has to bribe him with money not to rat him out to their folks. BOGUS!! So the boys go to the mall with Lisa and the bullies strike again pouring Icee's on our heroes. They piss off their own girlfriends who Gary & Wyatt crush on. The bullies spot Lisa and follow her, she cooly blows them off, but invites them to a party at Gary's. Then she splits with Gary in a sweet Porche.

Gary doesn't want to have the party, but Lisa convinces them that it will give them all the popularity that they want, then she picks up Wyatt at his folks and freaks them out so bad, that Wyatt's dad doesn't even know who he is anymore. Then the party starts and becomes a rager and Gary and Wyatt hide in the bathroom. The bullies girlfriends meet Lisa and she tells them if they get the chance to shower with the boys. They meet the boys in the bathroom on accident and then the boys split outside. The bullies try to convince the boys to give them Lisa, but they explain she's totally loyal to them. But they agree to build a girl for the bullies. But they forget to hook up the doll, and accidentally create a missile in their living room. Lisa is disappointed in the boys. Some mutant bikers show up and start terrorizing the party. The kitchen turns blue. Lisa freezeframes Gary's bitchy grandparents and puts them in a cupboard. Gary and Wyatt finally stand up for themselves against the bikers calling them names and pointing a gun they think is a water pistol in their faces. When the bikers leave the gun goes off showing it was real all the time. WHHHHOOOOOAaaaaa. The boys get the girls. They spend the night with them. All seems well. Then Chet shows up. She sends the boys to drop off the girls, turns Chet into a monster, and then disappears when the boys reveal they have new girlfriends. All the damage goes back to normal just in time before Gary's folks appear from their weekend away. The end. EXCEPT......Where did Lisa go? Turns out she's the new gym coach. All the boys slap their heads and faint. wink to the camera. Very Looney Tunes ending. Merry Melodies even. Should you see this? If you haven't, something is the matter with you. Check it out soon.