Friday, January 27, 2017

Deadly Friend (1986)

Just because it seems as though I haven't had enough of the whole "likable female lead gets killed" theme so far for 2017...

Oh shit, spoilers: Kristy Swanson plays a completely, totally likable character and gets straight murdered in this movie.

Anyway, like I was saying, this week, we jump right into one of the strangest movies I've seen in a while.  Okay, that's a massive fucking lie.  Mystics in Bali was one of the most bonkers things I may have ever seen ever.  Again, let me get back on track here - this week's feature, Deadly Friend, is strange not because of how the movie itself plays out or how completely, totally 80s it is, but in how it is a terribly awkward follow-up for Wes Craven after his A Nightmare on Elm Street revitalized the horror genre in the middle of the decade.

You see, Nightmare is what Wes Craven will very likely be forever known for.  It's a slasher movie with a fascinating backstory for the killer, interesting premise, and superb acting from a stellar cast (that, of course, included Johnny Depp).  Deadly Friend also features an interesting premise, a solid cast, and a fascinating origin for its killer, but is a completely disjointed movie.  It's based on a novel and Craven made it as a straight sci-fi thriller and a dark love story.  Unfortunately, test audiences rebelled against these elements that hadn't existed in previous Craven films which forced Warner Brothers to order some reshoots and added gore scenes to appease Craven's fans.

Sorry, dude, it doesn't matter if you are now a modern master of horror, your fans want gore and your artistic integrity has to take it up the stink hole to deliver it.

From the back of the DVD release, the plot is: "Lonely teenage genius Paul (Matthew Laborteaux), a specialist in brain research, has two best friends: his remarkable robot BB and the beautiful girl next door (Kristy Swanson).  When tragedy strikes both his friends, he desperately tries to save them both by pushing technology beyond its mortal limits into a terrifying new realm.  Like a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein, Paul discovers too late that he has created a rampaging monster."

As we move through this movie, I'll talk about the weird tonal shifts, and the weird zigs and zags that the movie takes, and try to put into words how utterly shocking it is that this was a Wes Craven directed film.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Black Roses (1988)

Alright, guys...  I need to redeem 2017 in a hurry.  Let's see if enlisting the power of 1980s hair metal rock and roll can get us back on track.

No, really, I mean it.  I kinda feel after a particularly strong showing during Alyssa Milano month in December, I have done nothing but stumble out of the gate here in January.  So, Black Roses, it's up to you to save my blog.

1980s horror had a few things going for it.  First, it had slashers.  Second, it could always fall back on the old, tried and true supernatural.  Third, there was an onslaught of new rock and roll bands that stood in direct opposition to the resurgence of Evangelical Christianity of the time.  Finally, there was the VHS boom that meant more and more movies could be made cheaply to cash in on those kids who just wanted something easy to watch.

It's reasons three and four above that brought Black Roses to my attention.  First, that's a pretty sweet ass Fender there on the cover.  Second, there appears to be some sort of monster shredding that Fender.  Third, the VHS cover literally jumped out at you with a textured cover that made all those roses on the neck of the guitar pop out to be felt by those curious enough to pick the box up off the shelf, turn it over, and learn more.  The art of the VHS box was something these dumb kids these days will never know anything about.

From Midnight Pulp (an online streaming service specializing in a bunch of awesome horror and grindhouse movies, and even some Asian skin flicks), the plot is: "A sleepy little town will get more than it bargained for when satanic heavy metal band “Black Roses” comes through to raise hell… literally! After making a deal with the Devil himself, the band’s diabolical music possesses kids in the audience, turning them into blood-thirsty demons. The blood flows as they start killing their parents and causing chaos at their local high school, culminating in a fiery battle between man and ultimate evil. Features original songs from 'Lizzie Borden'!"

Guys, I really am feeling pretty good about this movie.  I mean original songs from LIZZIE BORDEN!  I mean multiple decades after hacking her family to bits, she was still more metal than you will ever be.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Killer Party (1986)

Okay, maybe I overreached last week.  Mystics in Bali... Really?  Why did I pick a movie that was utterly nonsensical to the point of absurdity and something hardly anyone has seen?

Oh yeah, the floating head that sucked babies out of vaginas.

Let's get back to something a little safer and a lot more fun.  After all, what's better than a slasher film for Friday the 13th?  I will say, typing that felt weird.  It's like maybe I should be talking about something else.  Hmmm.  Oh I dunno, I'm sure whatever that nagging sensation I'm feeling is just a buncha hooey.

Killer Party is a 1986 sorta comedy that was meant to capitalize on the slasher sub-genre.  In fact, originally it was set to be titled April's Fool until Paramount beat MGM to the punch and announced April Fool's Day (a movie released just about six weeks before this one).  It also tries to capitalize on the frat/sorority themes seen in Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds.  It even throws in a little demon possession that, frankly, has always been popular.

From Amazon, the plot of Killer Party is as follows: "It's April Fool's Day and the sisters of Sigma Alpha Pi have found the perfect place to throw a party: the abandoned fraternity house where a guillotined pledge lost his head in a hazing gone slightly awry."

Really?  Slightly awry?  A guy gets his goddamn head chopped off and it's only a slight oops?  Alright, whatever.  Still, I'm positive this is the perfect movie to talk about for Friday the 13th.  In fact, is there any other movie that could possibly have all of these types of themes that isn't this hardly known movie?

Oh, motherfucker.  I could be watching a Friday the 13th movie!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Mystics in Bali (1981)

Happy fuckin' New Year, assholes!

We're slamming straight into the new year, full speed ahead with a peculiar little Indonesian treat, Mystics in Bali.

The 1981 film was originally banned in its home country, but eventually found its way onto some black market VHS tapes.  With the 21st century and the internet, word of this fucking weird ass movie spread through the b-movie and cult subculture until it was finally given proper releases.

The movie primarily focuses on the Balinese myth of the Leyak (a.k.a. Penanggalan) which is - get this shit - a flying head with dangling entrails.  They fly around and haunt graveyards and stuff and can eat corpses.  They can even turn themselves into animals and stuff.  What these Leyaks are really super fond of, though, are babies.  But they don't just swoop down and pick up a baby with their entrails and take the baby to some cave or nest or something.  Oh no, not at all...  They like getting it straight from the tap.

Yes, they hope to find a pregnant woman so they can literally suck the baby from the womb.

Oh, guys...  I am gonna see some real shit here in this movie, aren't I?  Oh boy...  I suppose we should find out more about the plot.  Amazon Prime says: "An American researching a book that takes her to Bali and the black magic cult of Leyak, Cathy meets an evil witch which promises to train her in teh dark arts.  Tricked, Cathy is turned into a Pananggalan; a flying vampire with internal organs hanging from her neck."

Sigh...