Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dark Shadows again

Sorry, but I haven't had the time to watch anything other than a few episodes of Dark Shadows. I've been busy terrorizing New York City. Needless to say, I love every single thing about Manhattan. It's a fantastic city, and I'm fantastic in it. Unfortunately, I do have one complaint. I am accustomed to a certain level of luxury and opulence, and I instructed my executive assistants to acquire lodging in the Upper East Side. They did find some lodging, however I did not double check the accommodations myself to insure accuracy. I shouldn't have to do these things. I don't pay my indentured servants a pittance just so I go around and do their work for them. I just don't pay them, and then I shove them down an open elevator shaft. So, I did not stay at the Hotel Plaza Athenee, or the Pierre, or the Sherry-Netherland like I usually do. I stayed at the Comfort Inn on the Upper West Side, like a filthy commoner, in a tiny room so small I flushed the toilet and knocked over a bedside lamp. Actually, I'm surprised there was a lamp, as the room was so sparse you would expect that the only illumination would come from a flaming oil-drum surrounded by hobos warming their cans of franks and beans. I might as well have just slept on an open grate or out in the wilderness, or as I like to call it, Central Park. I honestly don't know why they left all that ugly open scrubland right there in the middle of the city like that. They should pave it and build some more coffee shops. Due to 'circumstances beyond my control', which is a euphemism for Mrs. Deathrage; I somehow found myself in that hideous tree-filled nightmare with no coffee. For reasons I'll never fathom, she likes to occasionally be amongst trees. When I finally wandered out into sunlit civilization near 62nd and 5th Avenue (and the only way I knew it was civilization is because I deliriously staggered past Barneys), I realized I had to walk an eternity or nearly two blocks before I found coffee and it wasn't fresh-brewed. It was dishwateresque swill being kept warm from a carafe of some sort in a dungeon-like convenience store from the 16th century. It was barbaric, like suddenly finding oneself in some barren, barista-free hinterland. It was either drink or die, and I drank; but I most certainly did not enjoy it. Someone should give me a medal of some sort for bravery in the face of adversity and survival in the harshest of elements. A short time later, I acquired a latte and some bombolinos, which are filled Italian doughnuts, and it raised the levels of caffeine and sugar and fanciness in my bloodstream back up to the usual amount which would probably kill someone who has not trained like I have to travel in extreme locales. I will tell more about my New York City adventures in a rant to be published at a later date.

Anyway, back to Dark Shadows. Maggie Evans still thinks she's Josette Collins, and she wanders around in a nightgown and melodramatically calls out one of her names while clutching a music box. It's annoying. And she eavesdrops on Barnabas as he tells his henchman Willie about his plans for Maggie/Josette and how he has a brand new coffin for her. She leans against a 'brick wall', which is evidently not secured and it wobbles to and fro. Sweet. I watched Dark Shadows on Netflix.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Mummy's Curse

A mummy is terrorizing the Louisiana bayou for some inexplicable reason in this cajunesque mummy movie. After a dreadful musical interlude (which is exactly what everyone clamors for in their mummy movies) and some dodgy accents, we learn that there are not one but two mummies buried in the swamp because all that dampness is good for mummies and that's a good place to store them for future use. So some guys go to the top of the Louisiana mountain near the swamp where they've hidden one of the mummy's sarcophaguses (Side-note: apparently, both sarcophaguses and sarcophagi are correct spellings. I'm going with the funnier spelling.) in the convenient crumbling monastery and feed him some soup made from leaves which then causes him to go on a murderous rampage that consists of one or two stranglings. Then a bulldozer causes the female mummy to rise from her grave for an uncomfortably long period of time for a 57 minute long movie, and she turns out to be a brilliant scientist with amnesia and mummy ESP sort of, and another scientist takes credit for her brilliant discovery because she's a woman and a mummy and it's the 1940s. Some dude gets attacked by a mummy, and the only weapon he has to fend off the attacker with is a piece of wicker furniture. Why does this always happen? If I knew that somewhere in my vicinity was a pair of rampaging mummies (and everyone in this movie does), I would be sure to stay near all the mahogany furniture to throw, you know, just in case. I'm certainly not going to be the laughing stock of the bayou if everyone was threatened by hideous murder from a mummy with a penchant for strangling and all I could find to chuck at him was a pitiful little wicker chair. Have you ever heard of a mummy being crushed by patio furniture? No, because it's never happened. The poor sucker caught unaware by the mummy in the flimsy tent filled with flimsy wicker furniture gets the crap strangled out of him, and I've seen too many mummy movies to pull a dumb stunt like that. I watched The Mummy's Curse on Netflix, and it's mindboggling. It's recommended if you dislike science and like stranglings, shuffling, and fainting.  Here's a trailer:

Star Worms II: Attack Of The Pleasure Pods

Men in rubber pants pan for minerals in a worm infested body of water for like ever and talk about it in this Troma film. That's about it. It's poorly shot, poorly acted, poorly written, and poorly mic'd. Everyone throws some sticks around for awhile, but I'm not sure why. That's all I have to say about it. I watched Star Worms II: Attack Of The Pleasure Pods on Youtube on the Troma channel. Here's a trailer:

Art Is...The Permanent Revolution

Etchings, lithographs, and engravings and the social change they have created through history is sort of examined in this dry documentary. It's fascinating watching 3 artists create their art, but too often the documentarians show art from the past and neglect to tell us who created it. I enjoyed being educated on the technical details of creating etchings, lithographs, and engravings, but overall the documentary is just too boring. I watched Art Is...The Permanent Revolution on Netflix. Here's a trailer:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dark Shadows

Halloween preparations have kicked in to high gear at Deathrage Towers, therefore I haven't been watching as many movies as I usually do. I've been decking 42 floors with completely original Halloween decoration ideas which takes a lot of black and orange construction paper, and by "completely original" I really mean "totally stolen from Martha Stewart". Hey, laugh all you want, but Martha is a bad-ass at Halloween. I don't give a crap what she does the other 11 lame months of the year, but she has my attention in October. I honestly don't want to make 4th Of July Honeycomb Tissue Garland Globes (a real thing), or a Daffodil And Pom-Pom Chick Basket (another real thing), or a Bay Leaf And Pomegranate Garland (also a real thing); but if she's offering up some Almond Brownie Coffins With Marzipan (totally a real thing) or Bloody Black Currant Punch (you get the point), I'll take some. Plus, she's kind of evil, she's done some hard time, and she bosses around crafting minions in her billion dollar tissue-pompom-daffodil-garland empire and that's something I can appreciate.

So, in between my hot-gluing and purchasing ridiculous items from the crafting super-warehouse, I've been watching a few more episodes of Dark Shadows, and by "a few more" I mean 1 or 2 or 30. It's still slow moving, the camera still makes shadows, and lines are still flubbed. I've watched like 40 or 50 or 60 episodes, and I think it's only been about 20 minutes in Dark Shadows time. That's ok, though. It's still creepy and gothic, and I get a kick out of it. It's on Netflix, and I only have about 1200 episodes to go.

And here's a clip where Martha Stewart forces one of her crafting minions to create a glowing oobleck at gunpoint. FYI, an oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid that is neither liquid nor solid, and she probably isn't packing any heat. 

Return To Oz

When my children were very small, I convinced them that A) The ghost of Billy Joel lived under their beds, and B) That there's a chicken in every movie. Why would I do that? Even I'm not entirely sure, as neither of those two statements have much to do with reality, but then again, neither do I. However, right now you're checking to see if Billy Joel is actually dead and doing a brief mental inventory of all of the movies you've seen and trying to remember if in fact there was a chicken in them. That's not really important right now. Oldest Daughter Deathrage somehow got control of the television and forced us all to watch one of her favorite movies, Return To Oz. She gleefully went to bed about 15 minutes into the movie, and I had to watch it again. I guess that's pay-back for the Billy Joel thing.

Return To Oz is the story of Dorothy Gale from The Wizard Of Oz who returns to Oz, and by "Return To Oz" I think the film-makers meant to say Dorothy Gale develops a sleeping disorder, has a psychotic break, and gets threatened with electro-shock therapy and THEN returns to Oz. Can you imagine how that pitch went? One studio executive might have said to another, "Hey, let's update one of the most beloved movies of all time by replacing the dog with a chicken and make it completely bat-crap crazy.", and then the other executive probably just threw money at him.

Anyway, Dorothy hangs out with an irritating, complaining, and wise-cracking chicken, gets attacked by a group of wheeled ruffians who looks like the B-squad from a 1980s David Bowie music video, gets locked in an easily escaped room by a princess with a bitch-head and man-hands, and flies around on a couch with a talking moose-head. Return To Oz is dark, disturbing, and possibly Freudian. It may be terrifying for children and potentially psyche-scarring for adults. I watched Return To Oz on DVD. Here's a trailer:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Starship Troopers

I watched Starship Troopers again. I'm saving the review for publication at a later date. Here's a clip:

Reel Horror

Out-of-context chunks of horror films are scotch-taped to a videotaped story of haunted film reels, I think, in this Troma film. Really, I have no idea what the plot of this film is supposed to be. I got the synopsis from IMDB. Reel Horror makes absolutely no sense. Due to terrible editing, vignettes seem to just stop and start randomly and don't seem to forward the plot; so for some reason you see a jumpsuited Donald Pleasance being attacked by a panther, then a woman wearing an eye-patch that changes eyes from one scene to another, and then you see Vic Tayback coercing someone into chopping the head off a chicken. There's screaming, Binaca, a singalong, and lots of chickens. I don't know why. Here's a clip:

Oops, someone replaced my clip from Reel Horror that didn't exist because there wasn't one with this vintage McDonald's commercial featuring Evil 6-Armed Grimace. It's not much to look at, doesn't make a lot of sense in this context, and doesn't forward the plot of this review.

I watched Reel Horror on Youtube on the Troma channel. Since there is no actual clip from Reel Horror, here's the entire film which is ever-so-slightly recommended because it's so awful it's almost avant-garde.

Space Zombie Bingo

Outer space alien flesh-eating robot zombies from painted scenes of outer space attack Earth in this extremely low-budget Troma film. There's voiceover narration, thrown lawn chairs, expendable boyfriends, wooden acting, stock atomic bomb footage, lamp shade headwear, microwaved cats, barbecued aliens, juggling, entrails, musical interludes, a space shuttle liftoff where you can see the strings, a Zombie Death Pacer, mime, and a clown reporter. Basically it's a Plan 9 From Outer Space homage, and that's commendable. Space Zombie Bingo is dreadful but it's the best kind of dreadful and recommended if you like stuff that sucks. I watched it on Youtube on the Troma channel. Here's a clip:

The Woodmans

I think it's very telling that the filmmakers named this film The Woodmans, as it is the story of a family and not just the story of the now-famous photographer daughter who leaped to her death from a New York City loft window. Who that family is, though, I don't know. The surviving family members; all of them artists, all of them driven by the desire to create art to such a degree that this film seems like a nuisance created to momentarily keep them away from their art, are so cold, distant, and enigmatic that I didn't seem to learn much about them. There are brief moments of regret, jealousy, and sorrow; but they're very brief, and then it's back to art. The film itself is lovely; with wonderful shots of vibrant ceramics and haunting photographs, it is simultaneously reserved and guarded, raw and exposed. I watched The Woodmans on Netflix. Here's a trailer:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rock 'N' Roll Space Patrol

Last night, Mrs. Deathrage and I watched Rock 'N' Roll Space Patrol, and by "Mrs. Deathrage and I watched" I really mean I watched it while Mrs. Deathrage complained about it while she played Scramble With Friends. She briefly looked up from her game and said, "This is the worst movie I've ever seen.", and I said I doubted that as she's played Scramble With Friends during hundreds of bad movies and Rock 'N' Roll Space Patrol couldn't be as bad as those, although it was trying it's damnedest to be.

Anyway, Rock 'N' Roll Space Patrol is the story of an alien I think who comes to Earth during the poorly constructed guitar solo-filled opening montage and patrols space or Missouri in a space craft or a hooptie Ford, has epic and unconvincing kung fu battles in a field with another alien I think wearing a paper mask and wielding a light saber, makes dreadful jokes, and confuses space patrolling with driving a hooptie Ford or camping. The cameraman arm's reflection is caught in a vegetable steamer substituting for a satellite dish unconvincingly attached to the hooptie Ford space ship as it cruises through various strip mall parking lots or rural back roads, but that's OK because the squealing out-dated hair-metalesque "rock'n'roll with an exclamation point" that's playing on the soundtrack gave me brain damage and I didn't notice anyway and I don't know a lot about hooptie Fords or camping or vegetable steamers. In fact, with all the "rock'n'roll!", faded jeans, and cargo shorts in this movie I could have sworn it was videotaped during the early nineties and not 2005. However, a portion of the movie was videotaped in an abandoned drive-in theater, so I'll forgive the film-makers for creating this excuse to get their buddies together to drink beer around a burning effigy and wear capes and gaze into refrigerators and show the same clip of someone driving (sorry, space patrolling) past a refinery over and over again. Rock 'N' Roll Space Patrol is awful, but it's that kind of good-natured awful that's created by earnest fanboys doing what they love, and it's recommended if you like stuff that sucks.

I watched Rock 'N' Roll Space Patrol on Youtube on the Troma Channel. The Youtube Troma Channel has hundreds of bad movies and should keep me busy for awhile. And don't give me any grief about watching Troma films, as I once said it's too easy to review them because they're all awful, but they just aren't making as many bad sci-fi movies from the fifties as they used to.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a trailer for Rock 'N' Roll Space Patrol. Since it's free on Youtube, I'll post the whole movie here for your enjoyment.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


It's been decades since I last saw the film Barbarella. I didn't remember much about it. This time, Mrs. Deathrage watched it with me, and by 'watched it with me' I mean she was asleep on the couch while I watched it. At about the three-quarter mark she briefly woke, and then exclaimed, "This is the worst movie I've ever seen.". I said that I doubted that, as she's slept though hundreds of bad movies and this couldn't be as bad as those. She then said, "The rhythm of the angel's wings as he flies bothers me and makes me feel weird.". Well, I can't really argue that point. It seems as though Pygar's wings couldn't possibly keep him aloft, let alone while he's carrying around Jane Fonda as she writhes and tousles her hair around suggestively. That's not really important right now. What is important is that Barbarella contains go-go boots, shag carpeting, silver lame capes, bitey dolls, and codpieces. Jane Fonda falls down a lot, gets captured repeatedly, becomes overly sweaty, and gets attacked by parakeets. That's all that really happens. There's a swingin' sixties soundtrack, and it might burrow into your brain and cause insanity which would probably be a relief. Overall, Barbarella is groovy and psychedelic and awful, but that shouldn't stop you from watching. I watched the influential cult film Barbarella on Netflix. Here's a trailer:

Oops, someone accidentally replaced the trailer for Barbarella with the trailer for the unwatchable Duran Duran concert film Arena, probably because the cast of Barbarella kept saying Durand Durand over and over again and it made me nervous. Let's try this again:

Oops, someone replace the trailer for Barbarella with a music video by the avant-garde electronica group Matmos, who take their name from the film Barbarella. Matmos is that vaguely threatening liquid substance seen in the film, and the music from the video was created with sounds from liposuction, so there's that.

There, finally! Was that so difficult? Anyway, Barbarella does her thing I guess, whatever that is, and someone says "Ring-a-dinger", and I have no idea what that means, so there you go.

A Matter Of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt

Chef Paul Liebrandt's career is examined in this documentary. We see Chef Liebrandt's career ups-and-downs while several avant-garde dishes are photographed, but otherwise the film is not much to look at. I started to feel bad for the acclaimed chef as he relentlessly chased an elusive 3-star New York Times review. I know exactly how he feels. I have several shelves loaded with plaques and trophies and other accolades I have to dust all the time, but it just tears my heart out to see an empty spot where MY 3-star New York Times review goes. I'm incomplete without it, and I have an emptiness inside somewhere I think possibly. Or that could be hunger. Anyway, I give A Matter Of Taste a meh. I watched it on Netflix. Here's a trailer:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Buskers: For Love Or Money

Street performers are interviewed in this documentary. People hammer nails in their faces, smash cinder blocks on their chests, turn somersaults, sets themselves on fire, and perform mime; unfortunately the performances are too brief and the camerawork isn't anything to write home about. The characters are all very colorful, and that's to be expected. I watched Buskers on Netflix. It's was kind of meh. Here's a trailer: