For months now the demonic duo of Nom DePlume and Razor88 from The Church of Splatter-Day Saints and I have been trying to join forces for a joint review, only to have the idea put on the back-burner countless times for countless reasons. Finally the dark stars have aligned and we agreed to cover a film that none of us had seen before. We decided on David Paulsen and John Mason Kirby’s 1979 effort Savage Weekend, and who wouldn’t? It’s got Savage right in the title, right? And the poster is all kinds of badass, right? Unfortunately for all involved, this was yet another case of THE POSTER IS FUCKING LYING! Let’s do this shit, shall we?… Continue reading
Hidden In The Woods is a bleak bastard of a film. A bleak, bloody, half-retarded bastard of a film. While definitely not for everyone, director Patricio Valladares has crafted a modern exploitation film that fans of the grimy side of cinema will surely love to get filthy with. It’s a twisted hybrid of rape/revenge, backwoods horror and crime film (with a pinch of cannibalism for flavor), but I would never ghettoize it into any one of those categories, because none of those descriptions of its parts do the film justice as a whole.
The plot centers around Filipe, played brilliantly by Daniel Antivilo, who I would love to see star in a modern remake of a Naschy Hombre Lobo film. Filipe is a drug smuggler, a father and a complete piece of shit. When not busy stashing drugs for local crime boss Uncle Costello, he’s made it a habit of getting drunk and raping his young daughters, Anna and Annie. A habit that starts when Ana is very, very young and continues for years, even after she gives birth to her deformed brother-son Manuel. Upon Manuel’s birth Filipe immediately locks him away in a shed behind the house where he lives like a dog until one day, years later, when the police show up to investigate a tip they receive about domestic abuse. The police are able to free the children from Filipe’s evil hillbilly clutches, but aren’t as lucky themselves as we’re treated to a demonstration of Filipe’s chainsaw skills.
While dad is acting like the Chilean Leatherface, the kids escape and decide to hold up in their family’s cabin in the woods in a nearby town. After the cop slaughter, Filipe reaches out to Costello for help, only to be caught and thrown in jail. This makes Costello send his crew out to find the drugs that Filipe had stashed at his house. This is also the point where the film turns into complete whoresploitation for a bit, as Anna heads into town to find food for her siblings and is propositioned by a creep on the street while she’s trying to enjoy an apple from a trash bag. This is where we learn the harsh truth that every man in Chile is a super rapey creep.
Anna quickly realizes that there’s money to be made and proceeds to blow every willing guy in town. But while she’s out doing that , Filipe is making plans of getting his kids back, a couple of backpackers stumble upon the cabin where Anny and Manuel are hiding out, and Costello’s crew is on the hunt for the drugs, or whoever might have them. Hidden In The Woods takes a lot of twists and turns in the second half, and just when you think it can’t get any more fucked up it does. The violence is amped up in the third act and we witness some absolutely great moments of brutality, the most impressive of which involving Anny and the feral Manuel, and learn of some strange eating habits the kids have developed over the years. These scenes also bring the audience back to the state of unrest that we start the film with but is lost a bit during Anna’s blowjob spree in town.
Hidden In The Woods is the story of a family, who as fucked up as they are, are willing to go to great extremes to protect their own. It is also an experiment in how much filth and degradation one audience can handle in 98 minutes. Besides the three kids, every character in this film is a despicable piece of trash (and honestly, the kids aren’t THAT much better.) I know I make light of it here, but believe me there’s nothing funny about this film. It’s dark, it’s dirty and it’s also one of the better films in the genre that’s been released this year. If pure, unadulterated exploitation is your bag, definitely check this out. If you have a sensitive tummy when it comes to these things you may want to sit this one out.
Hidden In The Woods hits streets 9/24 via the ever-impressive Artsploitation label. It is available on DVD and VOD through Amazon and VHX. It will not be available on iTunes due to its graphic content… and because iTunes are pussies.
Score: 3.5 out of 5 Screaming Jamies
I’m happy to have our good pal from up north, Erin V. of the Kill Panda Kill site, making his first visit to the Basement with his look at the road-punk classic Dudes. Find all kinds of Top 5 goodness and more at his site HERE
Growing up in northern Ontario in 80’s, there wasn’t a lot of access to punk music like there is today. Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet because his wife Tipper was too busy blaming the woes of society on bad language in record albums and the Much Music only had the Pepsi Power Hour, which was mostly hair metal bands and City Limits, which was on at midnight on Fridays, so you would have to tape it, if you remembered. So any movie that had any kind of punk rock reference was like gold to us back then and luckily Dudes just met the criteria.
After a Vandals show in New York, 3 punkers, Milo, Grant and Biscuit decide that they want to give up the New York groove and take a shot at living in L.A. With a thousand dollars in hand, that Milo got in an insurance deal, they jump into Grant’s Volkswagen bug and hit the road. On the way to L.A, they help a Elvis impersonator, Daredelvis get his camper back on the road. He thanks them and lets the guys know if they ever need anything, to give him a shout. Of course, no good deed gets unpunished and that night, while the guys are camping under the stars, they’re attacked by a gang of rednecks! And not the Jeff Foxworthy or Larry the Cable Guy kind with bad jokes, but the Deliverance kind! After the redneck’s rough up Grant and his friends, they take Milo’s jacket, rob them and before anything else happens, Grant sees a chance and takes it. He knocks down one of the thugs and the guys take off into the plains with the rednecks hot on their trail. The guys are chased throughout the desert and end up scaling the side of a rock but Milo slips and slides down into the hands of the rednecks. Milo tells the leader of the gang, Missoula to Fuck off and gets a bullet in the brain pan. Grant and Biscuit can’t believe they just killed Milo and surprisingly neither can some of the gang members. While they’re leaving can be heard arguing with Missoula about taking things to far. The next morning, Grant and Biscuit trudge their way through the desert and contact the police. They tell the guys that their sorry that they got robbed but don’t see any evidence of murder and Grant explains that they took Milo’s body. Frustrated with the cops, Grant and Biscuit decide to find Milo’s killers and get justice cowpunk style.
What originally drew me to this film was that Jon Cryer, who plays Grant, was in it. At the time, Jon Cryer seemed to me, to be the Anti-Matthew Broderick or the “if Broderick is unavailable, get Cryer to do it”, which made me feel for him. I really enjoyed Cryer’s work in Pretty in Pink and for some reason loved Morgan’s Stewart’s Coming Home, so I was totally game for this. I had no idea about who else was in, so I was also pretty excited to see that Flea, who plays Milo and Lee Ving, playing the redneck badguy Missoula, were in this as well. I had just discovered the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lee Ving, from Fear and his excellent role in Clue. However, what totally sold me on the film was, The Vandals at the beginning, playing Urban Struggle. The moment the song kicks in and you can see the Vandals playing at a shitty dive with maybe 15 people in the club, you knew this was punk rock and this might have been the first time I think I saw someone stage diving.
My only issue with the film is that there is a strange metaphysical sub plot that is never really explained. Gran keeps seeing this Marlboro Man motherfucker that no one else can see until him and Biscuit get real drunk. At the same time, Biscuit is having the flashes of Native Americans being killed and their villages burned by Missoula and his gang but dress in 18th century battle garb. Maybe it was a metaphor for their journey, I’m not that deep but think it ate up time in the film that could have been put to use better.
Overall though, this a fun film, director Penelope Spheeris does a great modern-day western. Plenty of bar fights, people riding horses and a pretty decent soundtrack to boot. Give it a watch if you get a chance.
I am no fan of musicals as a rule but Richard Elfman’s seriously entertaining and downright bizarre Forbidden Zone is an exception. The Forbidden Zone is a non-sensical, amusing and incredibly silly romp filmed in black and white with music from The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (soon to be known as just Oingo Boingo). If nothing else, you are unlikely to ever see anything quite like it.
Friday, April 17 4:00 PM Venice California
Huckleberry P. Jones, local pimp, narcotics peddler, slum-lord was seen entering a vacant house that he owned. While stashing some heroin in the basement, he stumbled upon a mysterious door. Naturally, he entered…
Only to find… ???
Jones retrieved the heroin and promptly sold the place.
One month later the Hercules family moves in to the now vacant house…
Ma & Pa Hercules – Ma is a stay at home type and Pa works at the tar pits.
Frenchy Hercules – The adorable and audacious Frenchy acquired a French accent while attending school in France; hence her nickname.
Flash Hercules – I have no idea why this guy is called Flash, but he wears a cub scout uniform and a beanie and is one old-looking kid!
Gramps Hercules – For some reason Flash has to tie up Gramps before he goes to school each morning.
Will the Hercules family discover what lies behind the mysterious door in the basement? You bet they do! Frenchy is the first to open the mysterious door. In an animated sequence we see Frenchy travelling through an intestine and shot out of a huge butt onto a bed of pillows. Frenchy has just entered the Sixth Dimension! The strange and foreign place is ruled by Queen Doris and King Fausto. It is not long before Frenchy is detained by the princess and brought to the Queen and King. King Fausto sends Frenchy to cell number sixty-three; this is where he keeps his favourite concubines. King Fausto falls hard for Frenchy on account of her French accent. When the rest of the Hercules family realize that Frenchy has disappeared they also dare to enter the door to the Sixth Dimension.
Right from the nifty opening animated title sequence you know you are in for something wonderfully strange. Don’t try to make sense of it; just kick back and enjoy. The sets look like something out of a school play, the costumes are crazy and a lot of people are wearing their underwear and Mickey Mouse ears (Apparently King Fausto has a Mouseketeer obsession). Some of you will be pleased to know the Princess character appears topless throughout. Every character is insanely over-the-top and is played with fevered enthusiasm. There is countless musical numbers and if you hate the music this will be immensely painful; personally I thought the music was a hell of a lot of fun! There is sex (if you consider dry humping sex), nudity and Satan! That’s right folks; Satan lives in the Sixth Dimension and looks a lot like Danny Elfman. He wants the topless princess for his bride and I can not think of a better match for him. Have I mentioned there is a gorilla, a gunfight, a Frogman butler and a character called Squeezit who thinks he’s a chicken? It has something for everyone and it all ends with one big happy musical number. Serve with Tequila. Forbidden Zone is highly recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Richard Elfman
Starring: HervÈ Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell, Gisele Lindley, Jan Stuart Schwartz, Marie-Pascale Elfman, Virginia Rose, Gene Cunningham, Phil Gordon, Hyman Diamond, Matthew Bright, Danny Elfman, Viva, Joe Spinell, Brian Routh, Martin von Haselberg
The wheels on the Damaged bus go ’round and ’round as Tim Murr of Stranger With Friction takes a look at Dave Markey’s still-unreleased document of Black Flag’s last tour. Find all of Tim’s antics at his site HERE
Black Flag toured like no other punk band before or after. Their tour schedules were grueling, spirit breaking affairs that took months in cargo vans and brought them to every out-of-the-way dump in America. They were true trail blazers, opening up the US for every other punk/indie band who followed. This could be one of the reasons the band burned through fourteen different members in less than a decade.
When Flag went out for six months in ’86 to support their In My Head album I doubt anyone knew this would be the band’s swan song. On the album, drummer Anthony Martinez had replaced Bill Stevenson (Descendents, ALL) and before the tour bassist Kira Roessler left and was replaced by Cel Revulta. In My Head may have been Black Flag’s finest recorded moment, sonically speaking-crystal clear production, a consistency in song writing, and a cohesiveness that albums like My War and Slip It In lacked.
Tensions were high in the band and had been for some time particularly between founder Greg Ginn and fourth vocalist Henry Rollins. Ginn had become more interested in instrumental music while Rollins had matured and hardened into a creative force in the band and not merely a yes man for Ginn. The all instrumental Process of Weeding Out seemed like a clear message to Rollins, but he stuck it out.
They struck out across the country with Painted Willie (Dave Markey was the drummer/vocalist) and Ginn’s jazz/punk three-piece Gone (which featured future Rollins Band rhythm section of Sim Cain on drums and Andrew Weiss (Ween) on bass). Markey brought a Super 8 camera along and captured this odyssey. The end result of Reality 86’d is a loose, irreverent look into a LSD and weed driven journey of thirteen individuals that at different times come off as brilliant, silly and/or boring. No one seems especially self-conscious, the bands sound amazing (particularly Gone). It’s an adventurous art film and captures the last recorded moments of one of America’s most influential bands (you can clearly see the roots of Grunge). But what’s missing is an emotional depth, probably due to the fact that Markey didn’t know that he was capturing the end of Black Flag, in other words, this ain’t no Last Waltz.
I would say there are two books that are required reading to accompany Reality 86’d that give the film a gravity and an emotional punch that it lacks on it’s own. First and obviously is Rollins’ Get In The Van: On The Road With Black Flag. The last half of his book is intense reading, especially the Apocalypse Now feel of the ’86 tour. Second is Rollins’ friend Joe Cole’s book Planet Joe, which chronicled in wild detail this tour along with the first Rollins Band tour. Cole served as roadie and documented some of the most harrowing moments of those six moths. (Cole would tragically be shot dead in ’91 when he and Rollins were being mugged outside of their home).
Reality 86’d is an important document, it has a great psychedelic/punk vibe like it’s a vision of the future from a more primitive time and should have a place on every punk or music nerd’s shelf. But sorry, sunshine, you can’t own it. Not legally anyway. Greg Ginn blocked any release of this film for reasons known only to him. Even as recently as 2011 he demanded it be taken down from Vimeo, where Markey had uploaded it for free viewing, but the internet wins, because you can view it all over the web (I watched it on YouTube). I hold out hope that Reality 86’d will get an official release someday along with Flag’s ’82 demos which any fan must hear. Flag has reformed, going out on tour and releasing a new album this year, so all hope may not be lost, but then again, I’m an optimist.
Tim gives Reality 86’d 3.5 out of 5 Screaming Jamies
If your youth was spent watching Return Of The Living Dead and Night Of The Demons and fueled by a snot-filled, three chord soundtrack then director Dan Riesser’s 2010 short film Night Of The Punks is just what you need to occupy yourself for eighteen minutes after you read this. Carrying the horror-comedy torch lit by the aforementioned films, NOTP is the story of The Brain Deads, a small-town punk band that finally has their first out-of-town gig. Anyone who has ever been in a local garage band, or hung out with guys who were, will instantly relate to the opening sequence in the car. On the way to the gig, the four members of the band and their merch girl talk shit, blast the radio and crack open road beers in anticipation of the show. Unfortunately, when they arrive at the gig the only people in the place are the super-creep promoter, the sound-guy, two douchebag hipsters and half a dozen seemingly normal leather jacketed, hooded Ramones-clone punk rockers at the bar.
Raymond, the creepy promoter, wants the band to start playing right away, even without a crowd and with their bass player in the bathroom with pre-gig “nervous shits.” It’s not long into their set when all hell breaks loose as it turns out the punks in the crowd are actually flesh hungry demons. Turns out Raymond has a little ritual he likes to perform involving sacrificing traveling bands to satan. That’s right, it seems the Dark Lord’s taste in tunes has progressed a bit from the eighties when he was rocking out to Ozzy and the Crue. Now he’s pogoing in hell with Sid Vicious and GG Allin!
The effects in Night Of The Punks, are predominately practical with a little bit of well-done CG, and look really good. I especially like the look of the demon punks, which is reminiscent of the Evil Dead demons. Another thing NOTP gets right is the balance between the humor and the horror, giving it the eighties vibe it’s obviously going for. You can definitely tell that Riesser has some well-loved 80s horror tapes tucked away somewhere in his collection. Another bonus is that a lot of the humor is aimed at music nerds, which I very much enjoyed being an unapologetic music nerd myself. There’s a scene in Raymond’s office that will have vinyl junkies chuckling as the band’s drummer Hooch nerds out over a crate of records. If a well-crafted punk rock horror comedy is your particular cup of piss then look no further, you can watch this slice of throwback goodness below. After you do, leave a comment and let us know what you think!
Night Of The Punks scores 4 out of 5 Screaming Jamies
This installment of Damaged, is brought to you by our friend Shawn Robare, who you may know as one-third of the Cult Film Club podcast and website, which you can find HERE. You can also find him laying down nostalgia and rolling in it like a pile of Jem and the Hologram dolls at Branded In The ’80s HERE. So without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains!
“I think that girl is great, she said what I think all day long…”
Though most might recognize Diane Lane’s from some of her early performances in The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, and as the highly kidnap-able rock goddess Ellen Aim in Water Hill’s 1984 rock opera Streets of Fire, it was as Corrine Burns, frontwoman for the titular punk band in Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains where she really kicked the door down and took Hollywood by storm. One part Poly Styrene, one part Patti Smith, one part Exene Cervenka, with a dash of Belinda Carlisle, sixteen year-old Lane’s Corri…excuse me, 3rd Degree Burns encapsulates the listless, pissed off, and slightly hopeless tone of the late 70s, early 80s West Coast punk scene. I’m not sure where the flick falls in the echelon of punk or punk inspired movies like Sid & Nancy, Repo Man, Suburbia or Rock ‘n Roll High School, but on my list it’s right there near the top.
Written by the woefully under-rated Nancy Dowd (Slap Shot, Coming Home, Cloak & Dagger – uncredited) and directed by legendary music/film producer/director Lou Adler (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Up in Smoke), the film is probably most notable for helping to kick off Lane’s career as well as managing to wrangle the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones and Paul Cook, alongside Paul Simonon of The Clash to form the backbone of the punk super group The Looters, fronted by Ray Winstone. The Looters are basically an on-screen variation of Jones & Cook’s short-lived, post-Sex Pistols band The Professionals, and their song, aptly titled “Professionals” is the central song to the soundtrack and the plot of the film. The flick also features Vince Welnick and John “Fee” Waybill from The Tubes as a couple of over-the-hill bloated glam/metal rockers in the band The Corpses.
In short the film follows a young all-girl punk band, The Stains (Lane, Laura Dern and Marin Kanter), as they try to escape from the doldrums and depression of a rural suburban town. After catching a local show featuring an up and coming UK punk band the Looters opening for a rundown metal outfit known as the Corpses, the girls talk their way into joining the cross-country tour. Though at first The Stains are essentially ignored or booed off stage, things quickly change as Burns unleashes a side of her personality she had been keeping in check. Donning some fish net stockings, underwear, a see-through blouse and a cut up heavily streaked new hairdo, Burns starts grabbing the mike and in true Patti Smith fashion starts mixing poetry and rage to incense the audiences of the local dive clubs. Before you can blink an eye The Stains start winning over the young girls in the crowds with their new look, and after stealing the Looters one big hit, they single-handedly take over the tour and rocket to superstardom.
Though written as a satire of the music industry with a heavy hand placed on the ignorance and tossing aside of talent over the money-making machine of mass marketable, pre-packaged bands, the strength of the film lies in its ability to capture a decent amount of the nihilism and ennui that pervaded the punk scene of the early 80s. To me it nails that sensibility of pissed off suburban kids who want to scream and shout, lashing out at the over indulgence and commercialism of the previous decade; a time when you only needed to know a couple of chords and how to keep a basic beat, where the passion of the music came from the intensity and anger of the musicians expressing themselves with raw abandon. It’s in the little moments, like at the beginning of the film when an interviewer is questioning Burns (Lane) on her life as an orphan and whether or not she thinks that her views will change as she grows older, to which Burns innocently replies, “Grow older?” Though the music in the film is nowhere near this level per-se, it reminded me of what it was like to hear Black Flag or the Minutemen for the first time and it evoked that feeling that a handful of guys and gals who hand enough talent to play, but who weren’t trying to write commercially viable songs or become the next big thing. Even though the film is aiming to tackle the urge to rise quickly to fame, there’s a punk rock heart at the center that’s impossible to ignore.
We kick off our celebration of all things punk rock in film with a guest review from the tag team of trash, Nom and Razor from The Church of Splatter-Day Saints. For more of their bastardly antics check ’em out HERE
A group of Reagan-era punks and skins squat in an abandoned California suburb after fleeing their dysfunctional homes. They are The Rejected……..and this is their story.
Nom DePlume: This is the first real-punk movie that I fell in love with and it was due purely to the realism of being an outcast at that particular moment in time. The cast is mostly comprised of actual punks – not actors – so even in their ineptitude they excel as the film is realistic in its portrayal and not a contrived piece of shit. They can see through the “American Dream” bullshit and are pissed off that the society (from the wealthy to cops, community leaders, and their parents) that looks down on them are soulless fucks who abuse, molest, mistreat, disown and abandon their own children. So they do the only thing that makes sense to them: move out and take care of their own by squatting in an abandoned suburban tract home and raiding open middle-class garages for food and supplies. This is an astonishing first feature from Spheeris and I have to give her insane credit for keeping it genuine and about the kids and the lifestyle and not turning it into some plastic Hollywood bullshit to turn a quick profit. (and with Roger Corman producing that’s saying something)
Razor88: I concur – the film is very authentic. The fact that the kids in the film aren’t actors does show through but it adds to the integrity of the film in this case. I wasn’t “living the life” so to speak when I discovered it but having grown up in the 80s it’s always struck a chord with me. I remember seeing it in the video stores with that hideous neon pop art cover that made it look like a David Bowie sex tape/sci-fi thriller. I swear that fucking box art kept me from actually seeing this film that would ironically become a staple of my viewing repertoire. And really, how can anyone deny the awesomeness of a film that shows a toddler getting mauled by wild dogs within the first three minutes? Talk about kicking you in the teeth from the get-go and it doesn’t let up until the very end. I know Corman wrote the check but he certainly didn’t have a hand in it as far as I can tell. No space ships or insect rape here (although to be fair, most films would benefit from insect rape – this is one of those rare exceptions).
Nom: Ugh! That cover was embarrassing, a new-wave/Liquid Sky rip-off having nothing to do with the film at all. Speaking of new-wave, there’s the scene at the D.I. show where Skinner insults the new-wave poser and then with the help of a few others proceeds to humiliate and rip her dress off. I’ve read some reviews where they really rake this movie over the coals for that but it was about her being a radically out-of-place scenester who was there for all the wrong reasons. It was about having some fucking integrity and sex aside, you don’t get a free pass because you’ve got a gash, ya know? It was about teaching her a lesson if she had been strong enough to hear it. Speaking as a punk who grew up during the cold war and seeing the massive changes that have gone on within the community in the last 25 years this movie stands as a time capsule of an era. There was a sense of hopelessness and apathy trapped inside the angst-ridden kill-or-be-killed mentality. We see that same girl later in a Citizens Against Crime meeting dressed like the girl next door as her Daddy complains about the T.R. gang and punks in general. My attitude has always been that she was dutifully weeded out and not that the punks were being just as fascist as those they oppose. They opened their doors to anyone – social class and sex made no difference – it was about survival and need and not about how some poser slut dresses so that she can piss her parents off on the weekend. That little rant aside, I have always wished this movie would have had better bands – Circle Jerks, FEAR, etc. Why oh why did fucking TSOL have to be in this? Puke.
R88: The bitch was asking for it… I didn’t feel sorry for her in the least. Actually it always kind of irked me that the singer for D.I. starts whining at the kids assaulting her. That’s not a dig at D.I. – They’re alright – but come on. I do agree it would have been nice to see some better bands in this. FEAR would have been killer, GG Allin a wet dream (although I seriously doubt they would have been able to get a release very easily with the Troubled Troubadour’s performance). I like TSOL… at least the stuff they did prior to what they were performing in Suburbia. Could the guy have had more makeup on? At least they were fun to watch, and incidentally the best of the three bands in my opinion.
I noticed a fair bit of poignant symbolism here. The phone booth at the beginning – a monolith of hope in the darkness right before the dogs come, the T.R. kids living in a dilapidated house that was meant to be someone’s utopian dream home now a rotting husk of economic ruin and shattered dreams yet right on the outskirts of where “civilized” society lives and breeds. Even the land they live on is owned by the county and therefore outside the city’s influence. The kids are truly isolated from everything in every way and Spheeris really drives that home brilliantly. It’s almost like T.R. are unto themselves a pseudo-dystopian society nestled amongst the straight-laced, invading their space to take what they need like some sort of rebel force overthrowing an oppressive regime. The irony here is these kids are truly just products of their environment. I really liked that Spheeris has a lot to say and the film isn’t just a showcase or excuse to put a few punk bands into a movie.
Nom: That’s interesting because I thought some of it was a little heavy-handed… the wild dogs being a metaphor for the kids, remnants of lives that effortlessly move on without them now left to fend for themselves and becoming feral in the process (The alternate title of The Wild Side would have been fucking tragic). The hokey comic-relief-obviousness of the redneck assholes passing moralistic judgment on T.R. as they sit in a fucking strip club watching titties jiggle and plan their ignorant, right-wing attack on children. That being said, there were a few scenes of absolute brilliance that for fleeting moments transcended celluloid and evoked the beauty and power found in unity. I’m speaking of course of the slow motion shot of the gang walking in the upper middle class neighborhood and the shot of all of them scattered motionless and silent across Sheila’s front yard. Fucking gorgeous. The thing that I probably love most about the film is that it ends on such a down-note, it doesn’t wrap up in a neat bow at the end with everyone going back home to happy families. It ends as it begins, in the midst of tragedy and loss with no definitive path and no answers in sight.
Nom/R88: Suburbia perfectly captures a frustrated subculture in an era of depression. It pulls no punches, is exceedingly thought-provoking and remains relevant to this day. Essential viewing.
Official COSDS Nunspank(TM) Rating: 4
A meteor shower blasts through a Russian space satellite inhabited by (you guessed it) spiders, leaving the remnants to fall on New York City. After a New York Transit employee is killed checking on the subway line the satellite hit, doctors discover eggs in the mans stomach and the entire neighborhood is evacuated and quarantined. separated couple Jason and Rachel are swept up into the middle of the whole mess as they try to rescue their daughter from their guarded, quarantined apartment.
This is not what I want from a monster spider movie. You know what I do want from a monster spider movie? Monster fucking spiders! Big as Godzilla, havoc inducing, blood thirsty spiders. I don’t want the divorcing couple, or their children in peril. Neither do I want the army and their damn quarantines. I’m sick to death of the quarantines! I don’t care if it’s a zombie plague, a crazy plague, a rage plague or a gang of mutant Russian space spiders – stop with the quarantines! I understand fully that these plot devices are there to set a dramatic and/or suspenseful tone and move the story along and blah blah, make with the fucking spiders already! I truly believe that Spiders should have been set up like the giant bug movie version of The Raid. Give us ten minutes of necessary introductory pleasantries, and eighty minutes of pure monster spider carnage, eight feet on the accelerator at all times. Alas, what we get is an hour of the aforementioned snoozy time family dramatics and the army being the army before we get any real arachnid mayhem. By this point it was a little late in the day for me to get into it. This is disheartening, although unsurprising, seeing as this is directed by Tibor Takacs, director of eighties kiddie monster classic The Gate. The last thirty minutes does have some good spider action, most of which involves the army blasting the shit out of the spiders that are trying to eat them, and the spiders do look surprisingly good. Unfortunately we only get a short amount of time with the queen spider before the climax of the film, and the worst last-minute of a movie I’ve seen in a while. If pure monster spider goodness is what you’re after, keep looking, Spiders falls short.
Spiders rates 1 Screaming Jamie
The city of Shimonoseki in Gu Su-yeon’s Hard Romanticker is filled with yakuza, cops and juvenile delinquents. Bleached-blonde loner Gu is about to cross paths with all of them. Gu is a cigarette smoking, attitude copping thug whose everyday routine consists of random acts of violence that would make any Droog stand down. Based on Su-yeon’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, Hard Romanticker starts with our anti-hero Gu tossing a naked girl aside as he makes a quick escape from a window to avoid a gang of attackers. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop as Kaoru Wada’s score kicks into a jazz frenzy, Gu narrowly escapes the bloodthirsty gang. We are then treated to the first of many brutal acts of violence as Masaru and Tatsu, two of Gu’s acquaintances, mistakenly murder the grandmother of a local gangster. As the blame is placed on Gu he finds himself wanted by not only the cops, but every criminal in the city.
After a run-in with a detective, Gu tries to find Masaru to find out what really happened and why his name is involved. Along the way he makes even more enemies by giving a gangster’s little brother a beating in an alleyway. This is the first of many scenes that rely on natural lighting, allowing the shadows to partially mask the on-screen violence, making it no less potent. Gu also starts a strange sort-of romance with a young girl named Mieko. After leaving town for a bit to work at a yakuza-run club in a nearby city, Gu finds out that Mieko isn’t what he thought she was and the results are brutal to say the least. All the while the manhunt for Gu is building and when he finally shows his face in town again, it all comes to a head. We’re introduced to a variety of characters and subplots along the way, all of which involve Gu gaining more enemies and getting into more confrontations, each more violent than the last.
We’re not talking choreographed Hollywood-style violence either. Every fight and attack in this film feels real. It’s not precise or stylized, it’s messy and ugly. There is a scene involving a stabbing that midway through, the person wielding the knife loses their grip due to the amount of blood on the handle. The blade also gets stuck in the body, forcing them to actually work to get it out. This is no quick in-and-out slasher flick stabbing here. It is this harsh realism, coupled with Su-yeon’s ability to weave multiple subplots together without losing scope, that make Hard Romanticker a truly exciting watch. Shota Matsuda as Gu delivers a performance that is as cool as anyone from James Dean to Gosling’s Driver and as balls-out crazy as McDowell’s beloved Droog Alex. Nobody has dragged a lead pipe through the street with this much cool. From the opening rooftop chase to the knockout, drag-out insanity of the finale, Hard Romanticker doesn’t stop until everyone is beaten and bloodied. This is a must watch for any fan of not only yakuza or violent youth films, but of challenging cinema in general. Highly recommended.
Hard Romanticker scores 4.5 out of 5 Screaming Jamies
Hard Romanticker hits streets tomorrow, January 22nd from Artsploitation Films, but lucky for you, dear reader, we have a copy of the DVD to give away to one of you. All you have to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and mailing address. Just put Hard Romanticker in the subject line. That’s it. One winner will be chosen on Friday the 26th. Due to postage costs this contest is only open to readers in the US and Canada.