Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Vampire in Brooklyn

A Vampire in Brooklyn
Eddie Murphy has a very checkered past when it comes to his films. Well it turns out that at some point he got word to Wes Craven that he wanted to do a horror flick. Not much later we were given A Vampire in Brooklyn. Not a terrible film or at least not nearly as bad as I was expecting.

The film revolves around two people destined to come together. On the one side there’s Eddie Murphy as Maximillian. He’s a lonely vampire looking for a mate (in this version vampires don’t turn people as such, unless they make you a ghoul, they’re more like a breed). He only knows of one person who has vampire bloods in her, though she’s not a bloodsucker herself. Based on the title it’s a safe bet that you know where said half vamp is. Yup, Brooklyn. Apparently he also only has so long to find her and turn her (she has to give herself completely to him) before his time on this poor rock is over. So, in other words, Vampire in Brooklyn is yet another re-envisioning of the classic Nosferatu story.

Only much less attractive

Before I continue on to the other storyline the movie follows I need to take a second to explain to you a phrase I coined because it describes this movie. The term is what I call an “Urban Renewal”. A remake of a film remade with an all black cast. A prime example is the recent “Death at a funeral” remake. As much as I hate remakes I hate Urban Renewals even more, not as a notion of race. I couldn’t care less if it were an all black, all Hispanic, all Eskimo or all used mop cast. If the original was good, leave it alone. If you’re a filmmaker and you liked the original, make homage to it. But before I get too into this rant (which I WILL further expand upon at a later date) I just wanted to state that a Vampire in Brooklyn is essentially an Urban renewal Dracula minus any erotic connotations.

OK maybe just a little bit

The other side of the proverbial coin is Angela Basset who plays Rita. She’s a cop who seems to have issues sleeping. Probably all that vamp in her blood. She’s having all these crazy vivid dreams that she paints when she wakes up. It’s the classic good vamp bad vamp routine only the good vamp doesn’t realize it yet.

There are moments when Eddie does TRY to be frightening, but it's about as effective as a dog with no teeth

A vampire in Brooklyn actually manages to pull off some fun moments while still managing to be an utterly shite flick. I said it was better than I thought, but I did NOT say it was good. Eddie Murphy plays multiple characters (as usual) except this time one of those extra characters is funny. The vamp can apparently take the shape of a recent victim and in an attempt to woo Rita to his side he takes the form of a preacher. The preacher is the funniest part of the film. He convinces the entire congregation to chant and sing “evil is good”.


However, at the end of the day A Vampire in Brooklyn is a sorry excuse for a film and Eddie Murphy should have known better. I hope if he ever decides to work with Wes Craven again he let’s Wes write the material. On a technical level the flick is pretty good and I found myself admiring the cinematography more than the film itself. The writing though is half-baked and not much fun and scenes that are supposed to be funny (aside from the preacher scene) fall flat. It’s basically not good horror and not good comedy.

Skip this one

4 out of 10

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Happening

The Happening

I need to just get this out of the way up front. The Happening is the single worst film I’ve seen since Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. If your morbid curiosity has gotten the better of you then by all means read on, but if you’re content in the knowledge that it’s a piece of shit? Please feel free to stop reading now.

Now for all you sick sick ladies and gentlemen who just can’t help yourself and must read on!

You’re probably asking yourself what exactly “the happening” is? The best I can tell is it’s some kind of biological attack on humanity performed by the single most abundant terror cell in the world, PLANTS! Yup, that’s the big mystery, the whole thing was perpetrated by plants. WHAT A TWIST! It actually gets Marky Mark so paranoid that he winds up talking to plants and the best part is that it was PLASTIC PLANT!

Her Marky, picking up any "good vibrations"?

The story follows Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel as they travel away from the big city in an attempt to get away from what they initially believe to be terrorist attacks. Soon enough they begin to see what it really is and it becomes a struggle just to stay alive. Along the way there are about 700 suicides (which seems like it was the main selling point in the ad campaign). I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of watching people off themselves in more and more gruesome ways. The only real pleasure the film seems to deliver is twofold; on one side we get to see John leguizamo perform one line so brilliantly it almost makes up for the pest “Don’t take my daughter’s hand unless you mean it!” and ultimately we get to watch him off himself, again almost making up for the pest!

A better name for this film would be "the look up" that's 90% of the flick right here!

As we follow Marky (you don’t mind if we call you Marky, right?) we watch his group grow and dwindle as they run into new people and they eventually off themselves. Eventually it dwindles down to just Marky, Zooey and John Leguizamo’s daughter and they happen upon a nice little house completely off the grid. Of course you know there’s a problem with the house! A complete nutter of an old hag owns the house. She doesn’t really want to help them, but relents and eventually offs herself (big fucking surprise right?). In the end everything just stops and it’s over. This begs the question, why couldn’t the fucking movie end like that? Everything seems to be going swell for the new family and then they have to ruin all the fun by showing that all this is happening again in France, but who friggin cares about them frogs!

Tres Chic!

Mark Wahlberg is easily one of the worst actors in the business and his performance in the happening just proves that he deserves to be driven out of Hollywood (preferably to never be seen again). Zooey Deschanel, on the other hand, should know better! I’ve decided to give M. Knight one more chance with the last airbender (which is so upsetting that it couldn’t have been called Avatar!), but I’m not holding my breath! There are feeble attempts at humor, even more feeble attempts at drama, but the worst offenders are when they try to do suspense/horror. There’s just not that much frightening about plants, sorry M. Knight, but there isn’t. Maybe next time you can make a film about vampires and werewolves in love with a human girl…oh wait.


1 out of 10

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Year in Disturbing Film: Week 17 - Freaks

My year in disturbing film is my weekly column where I devote a few paragraphs to the most fucked up films ever made. Each week I plan on subjecting myself to the most horrific and mentally damaging imagery my mind can handle. I can't promise you this won't be the week I wind up in the hospital...

HERE is a reminder about my rating system for these films

Hmmm so what torment is in store for me this week...

 Todd Browning’s Freaks

What is the movie about?

The film focuses on the story of a group of circus freaks and how they take revenge on a “normal” for doing wrong by one of their own. “Freaks” is more specifically about Hans, the “Tom Thumb” of the circus sideshow and the gold digger Cleopatra who’s ruining his life. But this all begs the question…

Hans, in happier times

Is the film disturbing?

Looking at Freaks by today’s standards it’s a laughable example of horror, but thinking about when this film came out it was groundbreaking in its depiction of taboo subject matter. Browning’s use of real human anomalies as the titular freaks was unheard of at the time. What’s even better is just how great of a job they did portraying the issues they had to face on a daily basis and the mockery they were forced to suffer.

We're a happy family, me mom and dad

A good chunk of the film deals with their personal hardships of the main group of freaks. The group consists of; several pinheads, a human torso, a group of dwarves (what do they call that, a gaggle?), a he/she, a man missing both arms and legs, people with no arms, a bearded lady (who’s pregnant nonetheless), a stutterer and a set of Siamese twins. That gives you a pretty good idea of the size of the group one would have to contend with if they were to attack you!

If I knew a guy who could shave without the aid of arms, I'd NEVER fuck with him!

Hans is engaged to Frieda, but he has an eye for Cleo (short for Cleopatra, a regular sized acrobat in the circus). Cleo is using Hans to get nice things. Hans has fruits imported from France for her, he buys her jewelry and gets her fancy champagne. Needless to say this upsets Frieda and let’s face it, you’d be pissed if some Jezebel were pushin in on your turf. There’s a B storyline involving a girl named Venus who leaves her boyfriend (circus strongman named Hercules) and winds up with the main clown Phroso. Venus and Phroso represent the “normals” that can handle being around the “freaks” and treat them with the respect they deserve. Phroso especially seems to have a connection with the freaks that’s quite admirable.


Cleo, while suckering Hans out of his money, is seeing Herc behind Hans’ back Everyone other than Hans seems to Know what’s going on. Cleo convinces Hans to marry her after she discovers where Hans is getting his money from (he inherited a HUGE fortune) and thinks it best if she does away with her new pint sized groom. She starts the poisoning regimen the night of their wedding, but plays it off initially like she’s the one who saved his life. She then slowly starts poisoning him again using the medicine he’s supposed to be using to administer the new poison. It’s a damn good thing Hans has got some good friends because they see what she’s doing and let him in on the deal before he really does start pushing up the daisies. Those of you who have never seen Freaks have most assuredly heard at least audio from the wedding night scene. It’s the, made famous by the Ramones “one of us, one of us” scene (gooble gobble).


The freaks make plans to deal with that bitch Cleo and on one fateful stormy night they deal with her good (and Herc too). They never explain what happens with her, but they give you a peek on what became of her. Maybe I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own. Freaks is a compelling film and is short enough that you should never have to look at your watch one. Even by today’s standards it’s a really well made film and frankly it’s significantly bolder than much of the tripe coming out these days. I do, however, have to admit it fails to remain nearly as disturbing as it maybe once was, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a near perfe4ctly made film that’s a delight to watch even after so many years.

5 out of 5

Disturbitude: 3, sure there’s some shock to see real life circus freaks, but it shouldn’t be more than a passing shock

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Club Life

Club Life
Starring: Tom Parsekian, Tony Curtis, Dee Wallace
Written/Directed/Produced by Norman Thaddeus Vane

Every city has a seedy underbelly and in Club Life it seems hometown motocross hero Cal (Parsekian) is dropped right smack dab into the middle of the seediest Hollywood underbelly of them all. In the epicenter of this world is The City; a Pulsating and seething nightclub where all the local punks, new wavers, and rock n’ rollers inexplicably go to listen to Disco? Luckily for Cal he manages to convince the owner (Tony Curtis, doing his absolute worst tough guy impression) to give him a job as a bouncer. Cal is arguably one of the worst bouncers ever as he spends 90% of his time dancing or getting beaten up. It doesn’t help that his “boss” (coach, mentor, whatever) Tank seems to hate his guts and probably wants to kick his ass more than the local baddies (a gang known as the Scungilli). The best part is when Tank dies later in the film he’s treated like some kind of beloved best friend (he even gets a touching song during his funeral), but by all accounts he’s a total scumbag.

OK, Tony Curtis' 2nd worst tough guy

The shit really hits the fan when Cal’s girl from back home (Sissy played by Jamie Barrett) moves out to the big city. Apparently lover boy failed to even send her a letter while he was gone and now she’s a bit jaded. She hooks up with this punk who calls himself “the doctor” (they never really explain if he’s actually a MD or if he just has an affinity for scrubs) and gets herself hooked on the smack (say no to drugs kiddies). She also winds up as a fully nude dancer and sorry guys, it’s all body doubles for the nude scenes.

Maybe not quite the same*

The real meat of the film is in the fight scenes and musical numbers. Tom Parsekian makes both the fighting and the dancing look easy and fun. He glides across the dance floor like a naked Sissy across a greased up fish tank waterbed. He also manages some incredibly insane fight scenes; he fights a gigantic lesbian aptly named “Butch” for a job at her place on the weekends, he fights Tank (our mascot’s namesake) for the heck of it and he fights countless Scungilli men and local street toughs using (towards the end of the film) the most insane pair of Day-Glo neon light stick nunchuks you’ve ever seen. Of course let’s not forget that this is a musical at heart so there are several musical performance scenes that essentially act as a padding for the film to run out it’s full 93 minutes. The best of which is Sissy singing to a house full of lesbians about how she needs a good man (needless to say a fight breaks out).

I assume the Scungilli boys are named for their favorite dish?

The acting is surprisingly good and I will say Troma (who released this) did a great job finding a great flick to add to its vaults. It’s not nearly as crazy as Troma would become in the not too distant future, but it has a certain manic element that all Troma films seem to possess. Overall it’s a thoroughly enjoyable flick that’s just as easily watched sober, as it would be drunk. I bet a fun drinking game for this one would be to take a shot every time Cal gets beat up.

It’s Saturday Night Fever meets Roadhouse in this over the top extravaganza! Watch it tonight!

8 out of 10
Drink up…I’ve got movies to watch

* you know you want to see more LAZERTITS

P.S. As I was searching for pictures I had a very hard time finding a picture of the box art so I almost posted this up top

Admit it, you love it

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Year in Disturbing Film: Week 16 - Bring on the Puppet Gore!

A quick note about last week: I know I was supposed to post a reiew for audition, but I didn't have internet for the majority of the week last week. I was unable to watch the film so I've decided to bypass it and will probably post a regular review for it within the coming weeks. Sorry about that....

My year in disturbing film is my weekly column where I devote a few paragraphs to the most fucked up films ever made. Each week I plan on subjecting myself to the most horrific and mentally damaging imagery my mind can handle. I can't promise you this won't be the week I wind up in the hospital...

HERE is a reminder about my rating system for these films

Hmmm so what torment is in store for me this week...

Meet the Feebles

What is the movie about?

To the untrained ear Meet the Feebles may seem like a normal, yet slightly twisted take on the puppet movie. It’s a film about a variety show with an all puppet cast. Within minutes though you’re well aware that there’s something terribly wrong with this flick.

Is the film disturbing?

Oh god yes. The thing Peter Jackson (yes that Peter Jackson, he had quite an interesting early career) forces these puppets to do is beyond fucked up. The disturbing factor is turned up a few notches in that this whole thing from the outside could pass for a kid’s film. In fact I’ve never seen this in a video store without a ton of stickers proclaiming it “adults only”.

NOT kid's fare

Where does one start with the fucked up shit going on in this thing? You’ve got a host (rabbit) who develops an STD and think he’s got AIDS. A manager (walrus) who fucks anything he can while trying to maintain a relationship with the star of the show. Speaking of the star (hippo), she’s a binge/purge eater who’s obsessed with body image and eventually goes insane and takes out a large portion of the cast/crew with machine gun fire. Puppet gore is really something you never quite get over.



So continuing with the cavalcade, we’ve got a knife thrower (lizard) who’s a Vietnam vet who has frequent flashbacks and is a heavy drug user, he also murders his first assistant accidentally during a DT fit. There’s a sleazy stage manager (rat) who makes porno in the basement and has to recruit a local panty sniffer (who winds up dying of poisoning when he sniffs borax he thinks is cocaine) to fill in for the cockroach who dies when accidentally sat on by a submissive cow. Is any of this sinking in? I’m starting to think I’m already insane and I’m not even done describing the principal cast.

Not the only hole in one that day (the others involve many many rounds of ammunition

There’s a tabloid news reporter (fly) who spends the entire movie trying to cover the story on the rabbit and has a more than memorable scene involving a toilet and the solid deposits that tend to occupy one. A slime ball (bulldog) stage performer/bouncer who helps the walrus do drug deals with a Scottish warthog. A fakir (surprisingly a human) who winds up getting his head stuck up his ass and gets it out in time to die from his bed of nails falling right on him. The director (a very gay fox) who’s a pompous jerk and the rest of the cast who consist mostly of bit characters in the chorus and a hedgehog and poodle couple who make up the romantic side story.

Ok fine, this isn't part of the movie

Meet the feebles is fucked on many levels and will probably make you curl up in a little ball and rock in the corner till your mother comes and tells you everything will be ok. Seeing as I’m 30 and no longer live with mommy…I’m in trouble. Well I’m off to go rock for a while, watch Meet the Feebles at your own risk A great film, if you’re into this sort of crazy shit…which I am!


5 out of 5

Disturbitude 9, Holy Christ is it ever deserving of this

Friday, April 16, 2010

Leprechaun 4: In Space - Because in space no one can hear you cry.

Leprechaun 4: In Space (AKA Leprechaun 4: Space Platoon)

In this the fourth installment of the utterly inspiring and award winning series (sarcasm) we find our titular pissed off greedy midget in the depths of space. How he got there is never explained and why would we ever want it to be. It’s so much more fun and coherent when it isn’t, right? If I can be honest for a second with you, Leprechaun 4 may very well be one of the absolute worst films I’ve ever been privy to viewing. Those of you familiar with my history with crap cinema know that this is a major accomplishment for a film.

The story (if that’s what you want to call it) starts off on a far away planet where our pint size antagonist (Lep played yet again by Warwick Davis) has kidnapped a princess from some farther away planet. His grand plan is to marry her and take over the throne of her father. Seriously? My 6 year old could and has come up with better story ideas. Here’s one of his ideas for free, a wizard has to take a spelling test and he’s studying by creating the things he has to spell and asks them to spell themselves to help him learn. It’s already a better idea than leprechaun 4 in space.

Apparently the planet he now lives on is made entirely out of shit

So back to the actual story, so the overused cliché known as space marines happen upon Lep’s little hideout and “kill him”. The marine responsible for “killing” him decides the best way to honor the memory of the fallen is to urinate on the remains which impart upon him arguably the worst urinary tract infection ever. Lep’s essence travels up the pee stream like a jolt from an electric fence. Of course when they get back to the ship they do what marines do best* and they party down! The urine soaker and the token female take the time to get to know each other a little better in the waste disposal area. Pee Pee finishes off an apparently already shitty life with a fatal case of blue balls when Lep decides to use this moment exit the way he came in. The difference is this time he exits the urethra full size!

*-not really, semper fi guys

The story goes from odd to batshit crazy with the introduction of the Dr Mittenhand. You don’t know it at first, but the doc is a bit of a mess. OK maybe “mess” is a bit of an understatement; the doctor is really just a head and an arm on a robotic transport. He looks like a Dalek with a human head. It just gets sillier ands sillier as they discover that the princess’ blood has regenerative properties, which prompts the doc to start conducting experiments on her. This all goes horribly wrong when Lep uses the concoction, mixed with a spider and a scorpion and injects Mittenhand. Mittenhand becomes Mittenspider (his words, not mine) and starts attacking the crew.

It goes from weird...

To REALLY weird, really fast!

Meanwhile Lep is also stalked the remaining marines to one of the docking bays and accidentally gets shot with the laser that is supposed to shrink and enlarge cargo creating the world’s largest dwarf. If you have any brain cells you’ can guess how they get rid of good old Lep. Somehow simultaneously killing him and yet setting it up for yet another sequel at the same time!

That's not the picture quality that sucks

Leprechaun 4 in space is mildly entertaining while maintaining the level of crap you’ve come to expect with the Leprechaun movies (though I hear Lep in the hood takes it so over the top it goes full circle to become amazing, you’ll have to wait for my review to find out). I have to give Warwick Davis credit for staying in a role that a lesser actor would have given up by the third installment. He gets a paycheck and I get yet another movie to add to my arsenal. In space is inarguably the worst in the series, but I think it’s still better than a lot of other horror series worst movies. It’s better than Halloween 3, any of the even numbered Nightmare on Elm Street movies or which ever Friday the 13th was set in space. (yeah yeah Jason X, shut up)

What I find most amazing is that it feels like Lep in space was so rished together to meet some kind of deadline, but there's no huge deamnd for a Leprechaun movie. The acting is laughable at best, but does conjure up images of the classic sci fi crud from yesteryear. I know this is probably the most obvious thing I can say, but without Warwick there would be absolutely no reason to watch this steaming pile of dung. Space is usually the final frontier for shitty horror movies; I am so glad that for Leprechaun it was “the hood”. I think "in space" is a good get drunk with friends and laugh at it movie, but you’d have to be insane (or me) to watch it sober.

3 out of 10

Drink up…I’ve got movies to watch!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The year was 1987 and some movie studio exec had this brilliant idea. “You know who’s famous?” he said “Shadoe Stevens?” his lackey responded. “Hmm, I was going to say Bea Arthur, but hey I think your idea would work much better for this action comedy I’m working on…Oh, by the way, you’re fired”. The rest is history. True story! HONEST! With that one incredibly true story the first steps were taken towards producing one of the funniest flicks I’ve seen in ages.

Most of the crudsicles I watch are funny, but it’s usually unintentional. Traxx was actually a comedy and managed to be consistently funny throughout. Shadoe Stevens plays the titular Traxx. He’s your run of the mill mercenary ex-cop who longs to be a cookie baker. You know the type. There is a small problem with his plan. His baking skills are sub par to say the least. We'll just leave it at this, he pulls more than one tray of cookies from the oven that are ON FIRE!

All in a day's work

The film opens on a pet store robbery currently in progress. Our man Traxx is a lowly police officer, but he decides he’s going to take it upon himself to end this thing. He hijacks a skateboard from a local tot and uses the help of a fellow officer to propel himself through the storefront window. He promptly dispatches one of the baddies and the other gives up. Or at least he tries to, but Traxx isn’t having any of that and tosses him his own revolver. There’s an impromptu duel and I’ll give you one guess who wins? This recklessness gets Traxx canned from his spot on the force. Like the box says Traxx ”knows nothing about the law, but everything about justice”. We’re then treated to a series of flashback vignettes giving us some history of the main character. It seems he spent a good part of his time in some jungle in one of several developing countries. It seems one day he just gets fed up and has the calmest explosion riddled conversation a person could ever have (seriously, bombs exploding fucking everywhere) with his friend (played by Robert Miano, the best cameo of the film). He decides it’s time to give up the life and settle down for some cookie baking.

MACH SCHNELL! but seriously, WHAT THE FUCK?!

After an undisclosed amount of time and oh so many failed attempts at creating the next greatest thing in cookies our man Traxx, by chance, overhears the town sheriff talking about something called “town tamers”. Town tamers apparently are people who come into a town and clean out all the trash (not garbage because garbage gets thrown out, but trash gets killed). Sensing a great way to make some cash Traxx tells the Sheriff that he’ll clear out the town’s seriously overactive criminal element for $10,000. The Sheriff laughs at him, but I guess Traxx takes this as a “yes” and starts cleaning up the trash littered streets. As Traxx begins to successfully clear out the rougher element the head of the crime syndicate (played masterfully by Robert Davi) catches wind of what’s going on and decides it’s time to take him out (even going so far as to call in a family of hitmen on a self imposed hiatus in Mexico). Basically the rest of the film consists of physical humor, explosions and some of the most confident examples of baddie-taking-outitude I’ve ever seen. A good chunk of the humor is derived from how good Traxx knows he is. He manages to take one bullet during the entire film and when he realizes he’s been shot he passes out from shock (personally I like to think that he passed out from the embarrassment of knowing that a bullet got by him).

He could make a film about him eating snails for 90 minutes and I'd watch it

Traxx is a must see flick. The action is over the top. The jokes actually pull off being funny and there’s brilliant cameo by “Famous” Amos who eats one of Traxx’s cookies at the end and promptly hurls. Speaking of which, some of the flavors he tries are just stomach turning; tuna, cough drop and laxative, Chili con cookie. YUCK! Priscilla Barnes has a great role in the flick as a horny mayor who accosts Traxx multiple times (and ultimately winds up with him) because she “can’t fornicate with the voters, it creates a conflict of interest”, so due to this bout of morality in a politician she hasn’t had sex in three years. Hell, I’d jump Traxx if I hadn’t had any in that long!

Who's that handsome devil with the fancy duds upon his back, IT'S TRAXX

So come for Traxx and stick around for the bomb helpfully labeled “This is a bomb” and remember Traxx’s three choices “Be good, Be gone or be ded(sic)” (he even clarifies for the home viewing audience it’s spelled “D-E-D”)

Watch this TONIGHT!

Drink up…I’ve got movies to watch!