Every Monday I randomly find and watch a movie I've never heard of before. Here's the latest batch.
THE OCCULTIST (1988)
Thoughts before watching: This poster is just ridiculous. Did you know that if you step on the Devil's long disproportionate tail it squishes like it's made out of Nerf?
The poster is even more ridiculous after watching, since nobody on it is in the actual movie. But it does capture the WTF-ness of this movie.
How do I even begin to describe this movie? Imagine the movie LIVE AND LET DIE, except take out Roger Moore's James Bond and replace him with INSPECTOR GADGET. I know that sounds amazing, but trust me this is not.
Barney has just taken over his family's security business after his Dad's passing. His Father's former business partner Harold, informs him the company is in the red, but not to worry he has a job lined up guarding a visiting Carribean president and his family. He also has a badass mercenary on the payroll named Waldo Warren (Rick Gianassi, SGT. KABUKIMAN N.Y.P.D.), who, "we've given a few enhancements since he had an accident on one of our jobs." Basically Harold is telling Barney they turned a mercenary into a cyborg, in the same casual tone I would use to tell someone I have a friend who's lactose intolerant. And that is all of the backstory we get on the subject.
Waldo's cybernetic enhancements give him the ability to:
Shoot bullets from his fingers!
Shoot bullets from his feet! Which I guess would make sense if your hands were tied behind your back and you couldn't use your finger gun. But he just randomly uses it and then bitches because he ruined a new pair of shoes.
Shoot bullets from his dick! Yes, shoot bullets from his dick! This just seems like a horrifying accident waiting to happen. Whether it's to a significant other, or at the very least accidentally shooting out the toilet in your bathroom.
Also, why would a security company that has the technology to install dick guns in humans be protecting foreign dignataries for extra cash? Damn you common sense, let me enjoy this movie.
Anyway, the foreign Caribbean island this president is from is a part of Hispaniola. They said the name several times I couldn't make it out though. A large group of the denizens of the island have turned a local nightclub into their favorite hangout where they go to practice voodoo ceremonies. They have, "converted to the old ways", and are frowned upon by the President and his family. They writhe around having seizures, foam at the mouth, have crazy sex, and even partake in a good old fashioned human sacrifice. The only time the film has gore or nudity is during the opening voodoo scene.
During a big party with the President, a group of masked rebels with automatic rifles stage a coup, assasinating him, and leaving the dictatorship of the country to his wife, who may or may not be part of the voodoo cult.
There's much plot here. There's much political intrigue. None of it makes any sense. As Joe Bob Briggs would say, "There's a lot of plot getting in the way of the story."
Waldo the cyborg mercenary is just a back character. Barney and Harold are the ones trying to piece together the mystery of the voodoo people, while Waldo just pops in occasionally to shoot from random body parts. If Waldo is INSPECTOR GADGET, then Barney and Harold are Penny and Brain. It turns out the voodoo people have been set up, and are just innocent pawns.
Hold on for a second movie. Didn't we see the voodoo people commiting a human sacrifice? Sorry, I'm using common sense again.
There are really long scenes of badly acted, pointless dialog in this. Really long scenes by people who have no business acting in the first place. But it has moments of fun that come out of nowhere. The fight scenes are so hilariously bad they could have been choreographed by a twelve year old WWE fan. I loved every one of them. My favorite would be one where the surprise villain uses an obviously plastic spiked ball on a chain to fight off a couple of voodoo guys.
I think this could have been great. THE OCCULTIST has some truly cool and fun moments, but you have to trudge through a slew of woodenly acted, dull moments to get to them.
Afterthoughts: So here's the synopsis provided by IMDB:
A cyborg private eye is hired to protect a Caribbean president visiting New York City. Unknown to him, the president's daughter is in league with his country's rebels who are trying to assassinate him.
First off, Waldo isn't a private eye. If he were he would be the world's shittiest one. Second, The daughter wasn't in league with the rebels.
And here's the DVD cover which is even more misleading:
They're really playing up this non-existent private eye thing. The lady who isn't in the movie is holding a version of the ball and chain weapon the lead villain used for two minutes. Except now it has an open mouth glowing skull face.
The director of THE OCCULTIST, Tim Kincaid comes from a background in gay porn. He tried going legit for awhile with THE OCCULTIST, and several movies for Charles Band's Full Moon (THE BREEDERS). After making SHE"S BACK with Carrie Fisher in 1989, he quit mainstream movies to return to gay porn where he's still putting out movies to this day.
DANGEROUS GAMES (1970)
Thoughts before watching:Cool. I'm looking forward to watching Japanese school girls behaving badly.
A group of girls in a gang are trying to raise money for a school festival. They stand on the street raising money to prevent water pollution, but actually it's going into the school fund. After help from a friendly, but inept group of young Yakuzas, the girls raise enough money for their festival. After turning the money in to a teacher, he takes the money and leaves town with a local bar maid.
Enter Ryoko, a transfer student. Don't let her cute sailor uniform fool you, she will cut a bitch. She immediatly challenges Gang Leader, for contol of the gang. (I don't think her name was spoken during the movie. IMDB is no help. I'm just going to call her Gang Leader.) This leads to an epic cat-fight involving face slapping, hair pulling, and clothes ripping. The fight goes from the locker room into the showers, which the other girls turn on and let them fight in the pouring water. Eventually, a teacher breaks up the fight, and Ryoko and Gang Leader agree to settle their differences later.
That evening Ryoko shows up at a strip club the gang hang out at backstage. The strip club is run by the friendly Yakuza gang. The girls hang out here, plot, scheme, and try the "mearijuana" cigarettes.
Ryoko and Gang Leader decide to see who will be leader of the gang with a contest: they each take turns trying to seduce the teacher that broke up their fight. Gang Leader tries first, and plants a bug so the rest of the girls can hear. Gang Leader fails miserably, so Ryoko is up. The teacher finds the bug, realizes the game the girls are playing, acts like he's going to sleep with her, destroys the bug, and then sends her home. Not before she grabs a pair of his underwear hanging up to dry, which she uses to show the girls and act like she won. Gang Leader isn't having it, but her girls are already on Ryoko's side.
Gang leader challenges Ryoko to a knife fight, where they can only cut each other's hair. The girll that ends up having all her hair cut off looses. But the Yakuza gang leader suggests a better idea. Strip dice, the loser has all her pubic hair shaved off. He suggests this because, well of course he would.
Ryoko wins and leaves Gang Leader humiliated, taking leadership of the gang.
Once in control of the gang Ryoko organizes a strike until the principal reimburses them for the money that was stolen for the festival. Also along the way a teacher is framed for a girls pregnancy, and Ryoko gets the Yakuza to attempt to rape another teacher.
One of the problems I had with this film, and it's not the movie's fault, were the subtitles. The subtitles I had on this were horrible. Every sentence had a misspelling. The worst sentences were complete tossed word salads where the words were just thrown out in random order. Sometimes I had to pause the movie and try to piece together the word jumble on the bottom of the screen. Maybe this is a better movie than I'll give it credit for, I might have to see a copy with competently translated subtitles.
Thank you. Exactly.
This movie's target audience isn't school girls. This movie's target audience is pervy Japanese men. It's no secret Japan has a weirdly accepted school girl fetish subculture. What makes it extra creepy here is that the girls are supposed to be in junior high. Although all of the actresses are obviously older than the characters they're playing, and none of the nudity in the movie is from them. (The nudity comes from the strippers at their hangout.) But there's still a bit of a creep factor here.
Putting those things aside, the movie's good. Up to a point. I loved the epic cat fight. It almost played out to a THEY LIVE length. There's also a nice scene where Ryoko visits her estranged mother. It's not overly dramatic, it comes across as real and adds a nice touch to Ryoko's character.
My biggest problem storywise though is the ending. It has a happy, jokey ending that just ruined it for me. I really like juvenile delinquent movies, but I think they need to end with consequenses and tragedy to work well. One of my favorite movies in this genre would be OVER THE EDGE. If OVER THE EDGE would have ended the same way DANGEROUS GAMES does, it would have completely destroyed it.
If you haven't seen OVER THE EDGE do yourself a favor and put it on your list of movies to watch.
THE UNSEEN (1980)
Thoughts before watching: I'm always down to discover new 80's horror.
THE UNSEEN isn't actually unseen. I've seen it before. Not only that but, I've been searching for the title of this movie for a long time. I finally found it, and I'm not disappointed.
When I first saw this I had a friend spend the night and we watched it on HBO. The following day at school we were telling other kids about this.
The third act of this movie is where all the fun begins. I'm really going to be going into spoiler territory on this one. If you haven't seen THE UNSEEN, and it's a movie I highly recommend, please scroll to the next review, do not look at screencaps, just go to the next review. Then immediately search this movie out and watch it.
Three girls from L.A. go to Southern California to cover a Willkommen Festival. The lead reporter is Jennifer (Barbara Bach, looking amazing. This is after THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, and before CAVEMAN.). She's accompanied by her cameraman, sister Karen, along with another girl Vicki, I don't know her job, she's just there. They try to find a room in town but discover they're all booked up. So they go to a dilapidated hotel on the out skirts of town and find it owned by a creepy, but friendly gentleman named Ernest. Ernest is played by Sydney Lassick (SILENT MADNESS, SKATETOWN U.S.A., MONACO FOREVER), making his fourth apperance on random movie days. This is his best one to date. He really gives the preformance of his career. He tears the roof off with this one.
So Ernest's hotel is actually now a museum to the girls disappointment. But no worries, he offers to take them home and let them stay at his place. In the biggest mistake of the rest of their short lives, the girls accept the offer. But hell, who could say no to this face?
The girls meet Ernest's wife Virginia, who looks like she's in a perpetual state of being about to burst into tears. Jennifer and Karen head out to cover their story, leaving Vicki behind who's not feeling well. While she takes a bath Ernest peeps on her through a keyhole giving Lassick the opportunity to display his creepy ogle face.
After her bath someone or something grabs Vicki and tries to pull her into a floor vent. The lid to the vent breaks her neck killing her. Karen comes back to the house alone and also gets pulled through one of the vents by her scarf, cracking her skull.
Virginia finds the bodies and finally erupts into tears. Ernest decides they need to get rid of the bodies, and tie up loose ends, meaning Jennifer. So when Jennifer comes back to the house, Ernest lures her into the basement and locks her in. Someone, or something is down in the basement with Jennifer.
Alright, here is your last chance to turn back. This is where I go spoiler heavy. Kind of. This movie really telegraphs this ending from a mile away. It's not much of a surprise. But goddamn it's so much fun when it happens.
It turns out Ernest and Virginia are brother and sister. (This is revealed early in the film.) The thing in the basement is Junior, the big dirty man-child incest monster. He's not violent. He's just a big lovable goof that wants to play. He pulled the girls through the vents because he just wanted them to be his friends and play with them.
Junior is played by Stephen Furst (Flounder from ANIMAL HOUSE), and holy shit balls, he is spectacular.
He keeps a battered stuffed animal tucked into the front of his filthy tighty whities, that he makes a horrified Barbara Bach hug.
Junior is a cross between Sloth from THE GOONIES, and those weird giant baby creatures from NOTHING BUT TROUBLE. All of which are products of incest. I know they said Sloth was messed up because he was dropped on his head several times. But c'mon, there was more to it than that. Ma Fratelli had sex with either a brother, or Pa Fratelli, had a fucked up baby they kept locked in the cellar, then she killed the dad-father, or brother-father in a fit of rage. After that she would find a man outside of her bloodline to give her two other sons. Then eventually killing him in a fit of rage.
Those big babies from NOTHING BUT TROUBLE were made by an elderly Dan Ackroyd having sex with his John Candy daughter. And of course the offspring would come out that way after that unholy union.
This movie is an absolute delight. Especially the last thirty minutes. Every member of the incest family give amazing preformances. The mom, Virginia (Lelia Gordon, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, 1978) is an emotional wreck throughout the movie and it's believable. Stephen Furst is unrecognizable and incredible. But the hands down best is my man, Sydney Lassick. This is his time to shine, and boy does he ever. He goes from being a sweet old man to a creep in a heartbeat. They give him scenery to chew and he eats that shit like the buffets about to close.
I know I'm supposed to watch movies I've never heard of or seen before, but I am so glad I rediscovered this one.
Afterthoughts: In the opening credits Stan Winston is given story credits. I checked IMDB and he isn't listed. Maybe he was ashamed and had this wiped from his resume.
But Kim Henkel (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) is also listed in story credits, and does keep it on his IMDB page.
Thoughts before watching: Originally, there was a different movie slated for this spot. Once I found out this movie existed of course I had to make room for it because that poster is fucking magic.
I was just talking to a friend about having a double feature of THEY CALL ME TRINITY, and TRINITY IS STILL MY NAME. I love Terrance Hill and Bud Spencer movies. I've only seen Terrance Hill solo ventures, (SUPER FUZZ, MY NAME IS NOBODY). I don't think I've ever seen a Bud Spencer solo project before.
Also I noticed a Cannon logo in the corner of the poster. Simmer down movie, I can only take so much excitement.
Tony, a junk collector in Miami Beach, Florida buys some crap from the local fishermen that they pulled up in their nets. One of the items is a barnacle encrusted lamp. He takes it to his junk shop and makes his five dollar a day, fifteen year old employee shine the crap up to make it sellable. The employee is Al Haddin (hur-hur), riffraff, street rat, scoundrel. Actually he's a good kid whose single mom works for a local mob boss, and his alcoholic grandfather has a gambling problem.
He polishes the lamp and a Genie appears and informs Al, he ain't never had a friend like him.
Al's never had a friend who's a three hundred pound Italian man that looks like he sweats sausage grease, and takes shits that can evacuate four story buildings.
Bud Spencer. He's never been called a "Fresh Prince," but he's a God among men.
The Genie doesn't just grant three wishes, he grants unlimited wishes. The only caveat is the Genie's powers cease to work at night.
The rest of the movie plays out like a group of skits, or sequences that are just strung together:
Al gets Genie to help him beat the shit out of a group of bullies on the beach.
Al wishes for a Rolls Royce, Genie grants him one and becomes his chauffer. After getting stuck in traffic Al wishes to get out of traffic, and the car takes to the air with craptacular green screen effects. (Actually they were probably still using blue screen.) They even save a guy who's being thrown to his death off a parking garage by the local mob.
Al has a huge crush on Princess Jasm- um, Patricia, so Al has Genie make him a necklace he can give to her. After he gives it to her, he asks for a kiss and gets rejected. So, he asks Genie to make her kiss him. Screw all that Disney, show the girl your true self and she'll fall for you bullshit. I got a Genie. Make this girl put out.
Other events include: Mob goons burst into Al's house with baseball bats and begin trashing the place for money that Grandpa owes money to. Al makes Genie fix the house and turn them into cockroaches.
Al getting Genie to help him win a big basketball game.
Genie going out on his own, getting pulled over by police, brought back to the station, and grilled because he has no ID and no fingerprints.
Al gets randomly kidnapped. Not by the mob, just randomly kidnapped by a group that snatches kids off the streets and sells them to the highest bidders. Al has to wait until morning to use his lamp. Breaking Genie out of jail.
Al makes Genie help him win a waterskiing tournament.
Genie drinks a shitload of beer with Grandpa, then goes driving and gets a DWI, once again ending up in jail.
Genie beats the shit out of the entire local mob at night without using powers.
The Miami Police Chief, thinks Genie is, "an alien, or a super robot made by our enemies." (He's just listed as Police Chief. They missed an oppurtunty to name him Jay Farr.) He captures Genie and tries to preform an autopsy on him. After Al saves him, Chief orders Genie to destroy the world's nuclear arsenal, except one base in Canada under his command.
So, Miami Beach's Police Chief has nuclear capabilities.
Genie and Al escape the police station via a craptacular magic carpet ride. With Police Chief giving chase with his squad of black helicopters.
It's a whole new world.
This movie is a hilarious blast. Unfortunatly, it's never funny when it's trying to be. Except for one part, the Mob Boss is holding Al's Mom and Grandfather hostage, after taking a slap from the Mom, he deals a THREE STOOGES-style double pimp slap to both the Mom and Grandfather. I almost did a spit take, but stopped it at the last second, and started choking on my beer. I had to run out of the room. It took me fifteen minutes to get myself under control. A man slapping a woman isn't funny. A man slapping an elderly isn't funny. But slapped together in one strike Moe Howard style is hilarious.
Bud Spencer is a joy to watch. He looks like he was hitting the bottle inbetween takes. He gets a great (but not belivable), fist fight sequence with a roomful of mobsters.
If you have a significant other who has been wanting to see the live action ALADDIN, here's the full movie:
Check out 1:09:35 for epic pimp hand!