Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Devil Within Her

Donald Pleasance delivers Joan Collins' newborn 6-month old baby that has a fondness for scratching, biting, and screeching like a wildebeest because it's possessed by the still-living spirit of a dwarf that works at a striptease joint, I guess, and I suddenly realize nothing about the description for this movie is OK. Seriously, nothing good could possibly come from stringing together those particular words, and I'm surprised no one involved in this film could see that. It's Donald Pleasance, for crying out loud, delivering Joan Collins' baby, for goodness sake, and no one seems to be concerned about that, and she apparently became pregnant because she did a not-so-very erotic dance while dressed as a gypsy and banging a tambourine at a voyeuristic dwarf on the make. How could something like that that turn out alright? Well, it doesn't, even when Caroline Munro shows up in polka-dot culottes and everyone drinks a lot of scotch. And it certainly doesn't turn out alright when Joan Collins awkwardly lugs around an oversized swaddled plastic infant that doesn't appear to be an actual infant, and the camera cuts back to the real-life newborn toddler whose expressions are supposed to be creepy and terrifying but whose expressions actually make it appear to be a little bored and gassy. And it certainly isn't OK when everyone seems petrified by this bored and gassy infant and looks into the crib and screams, because it isn't at all the way people in real life actually scream at infants. I mean, you just can't scream at an infant all willy-nilly and hysterical, because they'll never learn that way and probably will never be able to get a decent job. You could probably do that with a cat, but probably not a human infant. Your scream should be in a lower register, and should include some constructive criticism, you know, something they can work with, like, "Hey infant, get a job!" or "Hey infant, maybe you should get your life together and stop sponging off me!" For all I know, those actors were probably screaming at the infant in the crib as the infant was operating the camera, so the infant probably already has a job. Heck, I don't really know anything about cats or infants, so I'm probably not the one to ask.

Don't get me wrong, there are some moments of terror in The Devil Within Her, like the awkward Joan Collins sex scene, anytime the scary nun is on screen, or anytime the scary blind lady from Don't Look Now is on screen, but I don't think the film-makers intended for those things to be scary.

Sorry, but I'm not able to embed any of the trailers for this film, and I tried all of the different names this movie has been known by. Here's a link:

Something Creeping In The Dark

People are trapped in an old dark house on a dark and stormy night amidst blue eyeshadow, turtlenecks, and slow-motion dream sequences while ominous piano chords are played in this slow-moving horror film. Sure, there's a seance, and thunder and lightning, and low-plunging necklines; but you have to suffer through many shots of people walking down corridors, or opening doors, or pensively looking off into the distance. It's boring. Ok, so sometimes people are stabbed and bludgeoned, doors occasionally open by themselves, curtains blow about in a spooky fashion, and footsteps are heard in the hallway; but honestly, if something was creeping in the dark I think I missed it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Yokai Monsters Spook Warfare

I'd forgotten that I left the DVDs for Executive Koala and Calamari Wrestler in my Amazon shopping cart. I know! How could I let a thing like that happen?

Honestly, I'm not sure.

So now I'm sitting by the mailbox in the lobby of Deathrage Towers waiting for the DVDs to arrive. I have no idea how things end up in my mailbox, so it'll be interesting to see how this scenario plays out. Does someone actually put the package in the mailbox, or does it just appear there magically? Beats the heck out of me. I'm assuming it's witchcraft. Anyway, I'm going to go out on a limb and and attribute this supernatural event to a magical imp. It's the only reasonable explanation.

Speaking of magical imps, I watched Yokai Monsters Spook Warfare. This title appeared at the bottom of my Amazon shopping cart, and it was magically suggested by some wacky person at Amazon who likes both Executive Koala and Calamari Wrestler. I can only assume the person at Amazon who likes all three of these movies is an oversized sport-loving crustacean, a murderous marsupial, or a magical Japanese imp. It's the only reasonable explanation.

Anyway, back to the movie. Someone digs up a sword, then a storm full of monsters appears. During this supernatural storm, a samurai battles a blood-sucking monster who has a magical, dragon-headed weapon that shoots fire out of its mouth. Strange monsters and ghosts materialize amidst the reeds. Candles are lit, knives are drawn, incantations are chanted, and fires blaze. It's pretty bad-ass. Did I mention this is a film for children? I can only assume Japanese children of 1968 were a lot tougher than wussy American children of now.

I was awfully bothered by the comic relief provided by a water imp that appears in the movie because it seemed sort of Jar Jar Binks-esque, but I got over it fairly quickly. I think I enjoyed Yokai Monsters Spook Warfare. If I were you, I would probably not show this film to small children. It is fairly dark and filled with nightmare fodder like blood-drinking, sword-fighting, ghosts, and monsters with unusually large heads.

The Hairdresser

An unemployed hairdresser with a penchant for wearing fruit-shaped earrings is discriminated against because of her weight in this German comedy. I had a very relaxing and serene couple of hours at the botanical gardens today. I don't really enjoy the outdoors, but it's nice to visit it occasionally; just as long as I can go back home, sit on the couch, eat pizza, and not visit the outdoors for a long, long time. I don't have much of a green thumb, but it's nice to see the finished product when someone actually has one and puts a little time and effort into trying to get plants to grow.

Here's a snapshot I took of some sort of plant. I think it's called a 'flower'.

Like I said, I don't like the outdoors, and I'm not very good with plants. The only plant still alive in Deathrage Towers is a small aloe. I've had it several years, and it hasn't changed in any way. It's still the same size and shape as it was when I first acquired it. I believe it sits on a shelf in a meeting room on either the 22nd or 23rd floor. It's very nice. The aloe, that is, not the shelf. Or the meeting room. I don't like the meeting room, and I don't go in it very often. It's dreary. Hey, you know what would liven that meeting room up? Some nice plants.

Now that I've had a second to think about it, I wonder if that aloe is alive? I don't water it, and I'm not sure anyone else does, either. I wonder if I have a department that handles that sort of thing?

Upon further reflection, I'm almost certain that actual living plants need to be A) in sunlight, B) watered sometimes, and C) fed occasionally. I've done none of those things.

That settles it. Sometime within the next few weeks I will hold a meeting to A) create a department that creates a department within the company whose sole function is to care for any plants on the premises, B) allocate resources to the care and management of said plants, and C) determine if that aloe is a real living plant or a phony one made out of plastic. I will have Executive Assistant write up a memo, and post it near the aloe. We'll get to the bottom of that.

So, what we're we talking about?

Oh yeah. So I watched The Hairdresser on Netflix, and unfortunately, it was in German with no subtitles. I enjoyed it, I think, but I'm not really sure what happened. The movie wrapped up a lot of stuff in the last few minutes, and then seemingly ended. I assume it was a comedy.

Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra

Bad sci-fi films of the 1950s are spoofed in this low-budget, intentionally bad film. A scientist, an evil rival scientist, and a couple of extraterrestrials attempt to locate a meteorite capable of reviving a skeleton, I think, but I'm not totally sure. Shot in a shaky, naive style in black and white; it features wooden, melodramatic acting and some not-so-special special effects (I can see the strings!). The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra is pretty bad, but in a good way. There's stock animal footage, miniatures, and takes that go on just a little too long. There's a 'transmutatron' fashioned from a caulking gun, lots of awkward dancing, and a 3-eyed monster made out of fingerless gloves and plastic plants from a craft store. The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra is recommended if you like stuff that sucks.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Marianne Faithfull: Dreaming My Dreams

The life and career of the legendary singer/songwriter/actor is profiled in this documentary. Gritty and candid, Dreaming My Dreams features interviews, concert clips, and archival footage. Faithfull's chart topping hits, romantic entanglements with various rock stars, drug use, career decline, homelessness, suicide attempts, and her ultimate comeback are documented. I wouldn't exactly call Dreaming My Dreams well-shot, but Faithfull is fascinating whenever she's on screen.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Identity Thief

A man's identity is stolen in this broad, implausible comedy. Melissa McCarthy does a fine job making a repugnant career criminal sympathetic; even as she throat-punches people, picks up random cowboy for rough motel sex, and gets hit by a car on the highway. Filled with plot-holes which are conveniently wrapped up with a tossed-off line of dialogue (hey, at least they were wrapped up), the film has a loose, thrown-together, ad-libbed feel throughout, thankfully. These small tidbits of comedy seemingly invented by the cast bails out an otherwise drab, formulaic, mainstream blockbuster film. I laughed several times, but I shouldn't have.

Oh yeah, just in case you think that there might be a downbeat ending; everyone learns a valuable lesson and comes to understand one another in the end. Yeah, like that's a thing that could happen. Meh.


Eccentrics and astronauts obsessed with the Moon are profiled in this well-shot documentary. Attempting to fly to the Moon, paint works of art about the Moon, or selling plots of land on the Moon; these people dedicate their lives to the Moon in one way or another with varying degrees of success. Lunarcy! pokes some fun at these characters, but it doesn't seem particularly mean-spirited. The film has a bitter-sweet, uplifting ending which essentially says, "Hey, if you want to go to the Moon, go. You probably won't be able to, because it's like, you know, in outer space and it often requires specialized training, a rocket and probably a trillion dollars; but knock yourself out. What's the harm in trying?", which seems ok to me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Absolute Zero

Jeff Fahey stars in this disaster film where the Earth's magnetic poles move somehow, plunging Miami into a deep freeze. I'm not sure how or why. Anyway, Jeff Fahey travels to a backdrop of Antarctica and investigates an ice hole for some reason, and some sort of poorly-executed icetastrophe happens. Then a really abrupt and awkward transition happens, and Jeff Fahey is back in Miami, trying to warn everyone about the poles moving. People think he's a nut, of course, that is until they have to unconvincingly flee wind-toppled poolside beach umbrellas in unconvincing terror as unconvincing Miami CGI snow falls. Then some pseudo-science-y stuff happens, and some jerk gets stuck in an elevator, and Jeff Fahey has a really intense look of concern on his face. It looks a little like this:

It's pretty scary.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Raccoon Nation

The life of the urban scavenger is examined in this PBS documentary. This is what my life has become. My youngest daughter came home from college for the weekend, and her birthday is in a couple of days. To celebrate, I thought it would be a great idea if we all went to the cinema to see Pacific Rim. I was vetoed, because no one wanted to watch giant monsters and robots battle for 90 minutes. Why they wouldn't want to do that is mystifying to me. Instead, we stayed home, drank whiskey, ate ice cream cake, and watched a documentary about raccoons because that's fine, and by "we" I mean "I", except I skipped the whiskey.

I was actually going to call the raccoon a rodent, but I don't think that's what they are. What are they? The documentary never says. Hold on a second, and I'll check.

Hmm, apparently they are distant cousins to bears. No kidding. I had no idea. You know, that might have been a topic of discussion in the documentary, as I thought raccoons were rodents.

Then what the heck is an opossum? Are those rodents? Hold on a second, and I'll check.

No, apparently opossums are marsupials, and they're terrifying.

Clearly, a movie about a tornado filled with opossums has to be made.

Someone should get on that, but I'm afraid it might be too frightening for many viewers watching a swirling mass of flying opossums attack people and lay their possumy eggs inside the victims' brains. Gah, I might have nightmares.


A 36-foot crocodile is on the loose in this Chinese crocodile-on-the-loose film. I'm not going to try to hide it, but I was honestly disappointed that Croczilla was a merely-larger-than-average crocodile-on-the-loose movie, and not a loony Asylum-esque crocodile-Godzilla-hybrid-on-the-loose movie, which would be pretty interesting. Sadly, Croczilla isn't especially interesting. People shriek a lot, and run around a lot, and unconvincingly throw nets over one another for comedic effect, and crash motorscooters, and engage in some half-hearted crocodile-based slapstick, and that's not what I was really looking for. I wanted to see a 30-story-tall atomic monster with a crocodile head knock over some buildings; and if there was a tornado in it, that would be even better.

I'm still quite upset that I missed Sharknado, because I'm certain that Sharknado is going to be the best movie ever and my life is empty and pointless until I watch it.

OMG. Someone should combine Croczilla with Sharknado!


Yeah, that's the stuff. As you can see, I coerced the art department at Deathrage Industries to shove all other projects aside and combine the best elements of Sharknado and Croczilla into one awesome thing that should exist, and when they refused I shoved them all down the elevator shaft and did it myself.

By the way, I now have several positions available in the art department at Deathrage Industries.

It's a promo shot of Sharknado I found from the internets, only I crudely cut-and-pasted a picture of Godzilla over the shark in the tornado, and then cut-and-pasted a shot of a crocodile over Godzilla. It's genius, and I'm ready for all the m'f'n movie checks to start pouring in.

It'll be epic, and by "it" I mean both the movie and the checks.

Yeah, they changed the name of the film from Million Dollar Crocodile to Croczilla because obviously I wouldn't watch a movie called Million Dollar Crocodile.

No, I'm lying. I probably would.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


The 18th Amendment to the Constitution and its repeal is examined in this well-made documentary by Ken Burns. I watched Prohibition because I took a tour of the Wild Turkey Distillery near Lexington, KY while I was on vacation, and there wasn't crap-else on Netflix to watch. The tour of the distillery was very informative, but I probably would have enjoyed it more if I actually drank. At the end of the tour, there's a tasting area where you get to choose two bourbons. I didn't choose. I don't drink, but I got the gist because the air surrounding the distillery was perfumed with the aroma of bourbon and rain. Why would I take a tour of a distillery when I don't drink? Well, I just like learning things, I guess. That's probably why I watch so many documentaries. Also, it rained almost continuously in every state I was in during my vacation, so I needed something to do.

Wait a second, let me rephrase that. Even though it rained almost continuously in every state I was in during my vacation, I needed MORE things to do while I was on vacation because my vacations almost resemble work. I did stuff for 12-14 hours every day, and collapsed in a heap of awesome at night. I travelled through multiple states in the southeastern US, ate many delicious meals, visited many interesting and offbeat places, and slept in several haunted hotels. I should tell you about it sometime. Well, I probably will, but not until March 2014.

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

I'm not going to review Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.

Look, I already know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Well, why bother reviewing the movie because you don't review the movies you watch anyway? You introduce the plot of the movie and then go off on a tangent for a couple of paragraphs, post some music videos, and then post the trailer. So go ahead and skip to that, because I'd rather listen to Big Star's music than have you ramble on all day about your vacation or Junior Mints."

You know, that's very disrespectful and accurate, and if I was capable of human emotion I might be a little hurt and offended by that.

Fine, I won't tell you about all the great interviews with rock legends who were influenced by Big Star, and I won't tell you about the cool outtake recordings from the creation of their 3 classic LPs because you're an astute observer of my writing style and a big poopy head.

I don't need to be disparaged in this mean-spirited and precise way. Whatever.