Thursday, April 24, 2014

Something Weird (Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1967)

According to my crack research staff--and by "staff," I mean, Steve, Justin, Agnieszska, Big Lloyd and Tammy--white people didn't start taking martial arts classes until 1973--you know, the year Enter the Dragon came out. (Okay, if that's the case, how do you explain the fact that Herschell Gordon Lewis' Something Weird opens with two white guys doing karate?) Truth be told, I don't think anyone can explain why this film opens with two white guys doing karate. (A paradox for the ages, perhaps?) It looks like it. (Oh, well.) Another thing before I begin my lavishly ornate tribute to one of the most alluring witches in film history, did anyone else find it strange that Dr. Alex Jordan (William Booker) told two Jefferson, Wisconsin detectives that he was attacked by a blanket? I mean, if I was attacked by a blanket in Jefferson, Wisconsin, I would have kept it to myself. I don't care how savage the blanket might have seemed, you don't go around telling other men you were nearly murdered by a blanket. If I was to tell the fellas about my unique brush with death, I would have told them I was attacked by a demonic armada of commemorative dinner plates, or better yet, a psychotic blender with mommy issues, as these household items are far more menacing than a blanket. (White guys doing karate, homicidal blankets? I don't want to come off as close-minded, but this film sounds like a huge piece of crap.) Oh, it's a huge piece of something all right. I'm just not sure crap is the term I would use. (Shit?) No, that's not right either. (Fecal matter?) Nope. (Unrefrigerated diarrhea?) *sigh*

This film is a huge piece of Mudite Arums. (Huh? Is that a new euphemism for poo?) Uh-uh. Credited as "The Hag," Mudite Arums is the main reason to watch this movie. (First of all, what the hell is a Mudite Arums? And secondly, is there any gore?) Let me answer you're second question first. No, there isn't any gore. I know, a Herschell Gordon Lewis film without gore might seem redundant, but that's just the way it is (the majority of H.G.L.'s films, by the way, are not so-called "gore films").

What is a "Mudite Arums"? I've been asking myself that very question non-stop for about a week. (Are you sure Mudite Arums is not some figment of your witch-loving imagination?) Oh, she's real all right. And I have the stains to prove it. I can't believe I just said that. It was not only inappropriate, it was downright disgusting. I am truly sorry.

In my defence, though, Mudite Arums does have a pair of lips on her left knee. (No she doesn't.) Yeah, she does. (If that's the case, this film must have reduced you to a quivering pile of gelatinous goo.) It must have? (Aren't you the one who's always going on about how they want to lick and/or kiss the knees attached to witches?) Oh, yeah, you're right. I am that one, aren't I?

And just like the white guys doing karate and the homicidal blanket, I can't really explain why Mudite Arums has lips on her left knee. However, unlike the karate and the blanket, I don't really want to know why Mudite Arums has lips on her left knee, as the mystery surrounding their existence gives her character an added layer of depth.

Let's say you're non-psychic who works for an electrical company and you sort of look like a blurred photo of a young George Peppard. You might not be psychic, but you get a regular paycheck and you sort of look like a blurred photo of a young George Peppard. In other words, life is good.

What if a terrible accident took away your ability to not only work for an electrical company but robbed you of your ability to sort of look like a blurred photo of a young George Peppard, how far would you go to get the latter back? (What about the former?) Fuck that noise, I want to sort of look like a blurred photo of a young George Peppard. (Right, where's my head.)

While I implied earlier that Something Weird opens with the two white guys doing karate, in truth, it actually opens with a killer choking a woman wearing a white knee-length skirt with matching pumps. We eventually see the woman's face as she falls to the ground, but the killer's identity is not revealed; at least not yet. I just wanted to mention this before anybody got bent out of shape and accused me misleading them into thinking they were going to get white guys doing karate right from the get-go.

One of the white guys doing karate is Dr. Alex Jordan (William Brooker), a government scientist who is in charge of parapsychological research. After karate class, we see Alex making out with a blonde woman on a couch. And just as the blonde woman is telling Alex that he is "positively electrifying," we see an electrician get electrocuted and fall off a roof. A bunch of his co-workers come to his aide. One of these of helpful co-workers, Cronin 'Mitch' Mitchell (Tony Mccabe), tries to grab a live wire, but it hits him in the face.

At the hospital, two doctors are discussing Mitch's case (one of them calls him "almost deranged"). While getting half your face burned off sucks and all, Mitch is now psychic. Yeah, it would seem that Mitch's accident was a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, the electricity has given him a rare gift. Yet, part of his face looks like burnt toast covered in a healthy dollop of lumpier than usual marmalade.

Doing what any other electrician turned scarred psychic would do, Mitch charges people two dollars a pop to get a psychic reading from a real psychic.

One day, while giving readings, in walks a vision of... loveliness?!? That's doesn't sound right. In walks a vision of tasteful elegance. (Are you sure you know what words mean?) What? ("Tasteful elegance"? C'mon, man.) Whatever. Enter The Witch (Mudite Arums). Oh, before I continue, I should mention that a book on witchcraft magically appears in Mitch's hands before The Witch comes in. At any rate, The Witch greets Mitch by saying, "Good day, Mr. Mitchell," in a decidedly witchy manner.

If you're thinking The Witch in Something Weird looks like Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched or Nicole Kidman from Bewitched, think again. This witch is the kind of witch who slouches a lot and has facial warts. Meaning, she's my kind of witch. But, of course, this witch isn't Mitch's kind of witch, so, he rebuffs her the bargain she tries to make with him, one that entails that he become her lover in exchange for fixing his fucked up face.

As The Witch was listing the framework of her bargain, I was already chomping at the bit to agree to her terms, as I was already head over heels in love with her, facial warts and all.

Even though he rejects her, The Witch fixes Mitch's fucked up face anyway. When Mitch goes to thank The Witch, she has mysteriously disappeared. Or has she? No, wait, she's definitely not here. What I mean is, I don't think this will be the last we'll hear from The Witch, as witches rarely do things without getting something in return. In fact, forget about witches, most people don't do anything without at least getting something in return.

Entering a fancy restaurant with a newfound swagger, Mitch approaches an attractive woman in a yellow dress sitting all alone. And before you know it, Ellen Parker (Elizabeth Lee) is sitting on Mitch's couch wearing nothing but a towel.

Suddenly, without warning, Ellen Parker turns into The Witch. Laughing in a manner befitting a witch, The Witch sort of stands up (don't forget, she's a sloucher), and evilly reminds Mitch about their bargain. The way Mudite Arums says the word "lover" drives me wild (the emphasis she puts on the 'L' is the stuff shameful erections are made of). Oh, and it's in this scene where we get our first glimpse of the lips on The Witch's left knee.

"I had a dream--I wanted to lick your knees." ~ Camper Van Beethoven

Since the police in Jefferson, Wisconsin are desperate to catch a blow torch-wielding serial killer, one who has killed seven women, they turn to Mitch for help. As he's being recruited by the cops, Dr. Alex Jordan arrives in town to gauge Mitch's validity as a psychic, the federal government is eager to exploit his gifts to fight the Soviets.

After providing the police with multiple demonstrations of his power, Mitch is put on the case. However, Dr. Jordan is still somewhat skeptical. It doesn't seem to matter, though, as he seems more interested in wooing Ellen Parker than investigating Mitch's psychic abilities.

Even though we're given the occasional reminder that Ellen Parker is, in actuality, a witch. I thought the film could have used more scenes that featured Mudite Arums acting all witch-like, and less one's that boasted squares with boring haircuts sitting around talking about serial killers and demonically possessed blankets. I did like it when Dr. Jordan uses karate to subdue a couple of drunken troublemakers outside a bar, as it totally justified the existence of the white guys doing karate scene that sort of opened the film.

Oh, and I could have used more of Peg Stewart, she plays the leggy brunette Mitch chats with at a party.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fantom Kiler 3 (Roman Nowicki, 2003)

After the debacle that was Fantom Kiler 2, you would have thought I would have learned my lesson. But, no, here I am, ready and willing to debase myself in public by admitting to the world at large that I watched Fantom Kiler 3 utilizing my own freewill. I mean, it would be one thing if someone held a loaded gun to my head and forced me to watch these movies. But that's clearly not the case. (Quit your bellyaching, deep down you know you like these movies.) No, I don't. I find them to be morally objectionable. They're the kind of violent, sexiest trash that only a diseased mind would enjoy. (Whatever. Didn't you whisper in my ear that the walls of the auto repair garage toilet reminded you of the gatefold sleeve of a certain live album by the Revolting Cocks?) I don't remember whispering that. (You totally did. As the ultra-leggy Eliza Borecka, who's back with a vengeance after her tepid, not-so leggy turn in Fantom Kiler 2, is about to sit down to take a pee, you said, and I quote: "You Goddamned Son of a Bitch!" At first I was like, what the fuck? But then you explained to me that that's the name of the live album Revco put out in the late 1980s. Anyway, only a person with a deep seeded love for these movies would take the time to notice the makeshift pornographic wallpaper plastered all over the walls of the film's primary auto repair garage toilet. And I don't give me no line about how you were so bored that you were reduced to noticing the wallpaper, you're a closet Fantom Kiler fan.)

While I wouldn't exactly go that far. I think I may have unlocked the secret behind the reason "Fantom Kiler" is spelled the way it is. Let's say you're a faceless serial killer who wears a black leather trench coat and a black Panama hat, and you want to leave a calling card at the crime scenes you create. Now, writing your name in blood is an excellent calling card. It's straight-forward and to the point. That being said, have you ever tried to write your name in blood? No? Well, neither have I. But I can tell you this, I bet it ain't easy.

Okay, and, now, let's say your name is the "Phantom Killer" and you have just killed a nightclub singer/exotic dancer with wonderfully natural breasts. Gathering up as much blood as you can, you begin to write your name on a mirror. Then it hits it hits you like a ton of bricks, you could save a lot of time and, not to mention, a lot of blood, if you simply replace the 'Ph' in Phantom with an 'F,' and drop one of the 'l's' in Killer. And just like that, you have doubled, maybe even tripled, your productivity.

The next time some geek/know-it-all comes up to you and launches into some spiel about how his favourite actor raped him with a Mr. T Pez dispenser in the parking lot of an aluminum siding convention, cut him off mid-Pez dispenser rape brag, and start explaining to him why the titles of the Fantom Kiler movies are spelled the way they are. It doesn't matter if he hasn't heard of the Fantom Kiler series, you'll blow his mind.

Actually, I'm not entirely sure if this theory of mine is on the level. So, I might want to tread lightly when dealing with the Mr. T Pez dispenser rape guy (who's not a real person, but a composite of the kind of people who go to aluminum siding conventions). But you have got to admit, as far as theories go, it's pretty rock solid.

If you're beginning to think that I'm spending way too much time going on and on about the origins of the name, "Fantom Kiler," you're right, I am. However, since the first, oh, let's say, fifteen minutes of Fantom Kiler 3 are a complete waste of time, you'll agree that my rambling is highly appropriate. Unless, of course, you consider the sight of Magda Szymborska oiling her fake breasts while leaning on the hood of her car to be worthy of your time. If you do, feel to paw at your genitals, that's what they're there for.

In the meantime, the rest of us (i.e. us relatively sane people) will be patiently waiting for ultra-leggy Eliza Borecka to appear onscreen.

You would have thought that Roman Nowicki would have improved his special effects during the time between making Fantom Kiler 2 and Fantom Kiler 3. But, no, the stabbing of Magda Szymborska's character looks just as fake in this film as Katarzyna Zelnik's stabbing did in the previous film.

Out in the woods to take erotic pictures of herself next to her yellow car, Madga Szymborska is suddenly attacked by a faceless killer. When this happened I was like, whoa, I didn't see that coming at all. I mean, a naked, oiled up Polish woman with cuoco-esque tits is attacked by a faceless killer wielding a knife? Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? It's crazy!

On the one hand, I have to commend Magda for wearing a black leather mini-skirt with a slit down the side. On the other hand, I must scold her for not wearing stockings. Bad Magda, bad Magda. Here's a huge wad of złotys, go to the lingerie store in Łódź and pick up some black stockings. Tell them Yum-Yum sent you. Oh, and Magda, never, ever appear onscreen without stockings on your legs. You got that? Good, now get your ass to Łódź.

After a pair of detectives are done wasting our time pretending to investigate Magda's murder, we enter an auto repair garage, where two mechanics are busy admiring their giant wall of erotica.

Interrupting the fellas is the leggiest woman in all of Poland. Pushing her car into the garage, Eliza Borecka is now on the screen. Sure, she ain't wearing stockings either. But at least her breasts are real. Anyway, wearing a caramel mini-dress, it would seem that Eliza's car isn't running properly.

If the mechanics had said something to affect of: "I can't wait to look up her exhaust pipe," I would have been fine with that. But, no, these assholes have to spend the next ten minutes throwing every car-based sexual innuendo they can think of at Eliza Borecka as she stood by her broken car in a leggy manner. We get it, when you say you want to "check under her hood," you're not talking about the hood of her car.

Luckily, nature calls, and Eliza Borecka asks to use their toilet, which thankfully ends the barrage of car-based sexual innuendos. And just like the walls of the garage, the walls of the toilet are covered in erotica. A confused-looking Eliza Borecka can't seem to decide what she finds more disgusting, the wall of garish Eastern European porn or the shit-stained toilet. Did anyone else find it odd that Eliza Borecka didn't flush the toilet before using it? Just me, eh?

It's true, I've been shaking my head in frustration a lot during this film. But I did start to nod ever so slightly when the one of the mechanics tells Eliza Borecka that she has the legs of a dancer. Finally, someone decides to say something that actually makes sense. Because, up until now, it's been nothing but wall-to-wall incoherent gibberish.

With no way of paying the mechanics to fix her car (one of the mechanics stole her money when she wasn't looking), Eliza Borecka is told to put those dancer's legs to good use. Reluctantly, Eliza Borecka agrees, and begins to perform a striptease for the sleazy mechanics. Take note, when Eliza Borecka's caramel mini-dress hits the ground, it's the last time she will be seen with clothes on. (You mean the mechanics are about to kill her?) Don't be ridiculous, this scene has at least another twenty minutes to go. (What?) All right, at least another eight minutes.

Just as I was about to lose hope that Roman Nowicki didn't have any surprises left up his sleeve, he unleashes what has to be one of the best sequences of the Fantom Kiler series so far. Of course, no one will be surprised when the mechanics douse Eliza Borecka's naked body with motor oil. However, it's when Eliza Borecka decides to fight back against her grease monkey tormentors that things start to get interesting. (Hold up, "interesting"?!? Are you sure you're talking about Fantom Kiler 3?) That's exactly what I said. But take my word for it, things get interesting.

When I saw the chainsaw hanging over by the door of the toilet my initial reaction was: What kind of auto repair garage needs to have a chainsaw on hand? In true Fantom Kiler style, the sight of the chainsaw did noting but confuse the hell out of me. Then, as the mechanics began to harass Eliza Borecka, I realized that the anachronistic chainsaw was about to be employed as a weapon. However, Eliza Borecka was the last person I expected to see using it in a manner that its designers hadn't intended.

The mechanics, now armed with metal pipes, confront Eliza Borecka, who just stabbed one of them in the leg with a screwdriver. Since it's obvious to her that her long, Polish gams are no match for metal pipes, Eliza Borecka grabs the chainsaw (which, like I said, is hanging near the toilet) and proceeds to saw her way out of this sticky, elongated pickle of a situation. If the sight of a naked Eliza Borecka holding a chainsaw doesn't excite the shiftless rabble who watch these films, then nothing will; keen observers will notice Eliza Borecka's hair goes from being up to down between shots.

If that wasn't enough, Fantom Kiler 3 gives us an extended nightclub music sequence courtesy of electroclash superstar Melochna Naskovystylist (Alicia Malikova), a singer/stripper who entertains the detectives in-between murders. While not as leggy as Eliza Borecka, Alicia is all-natural and has a modicum of charisma.

Since the film's twist ending involves a Fantom Kiler regular, I won't mention her name. At any rate, I have to commend Roman Nowicki for at least trying to breath new life into his flagship franchise.

Oh, and if you're wondering what end of the Mr. T Pez dispenser the aluminum siding convention guy was raped with, let's just say... Wait a minute, let's just say nothing. (Aw, c'mon. Tell us which end! Please! We don't ask for much.) Okay, the rapist shoved Mr. T's head up his butt. Are you happy? (Ouch! I pity his anus.)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Boxer's Omen (Chin Hung Kuei, 1983)

Let's see how long I can go without using the word "insane" when writing about The Boxer's Omen, the literally bat-shit insane new film from the Shaw Brothers. Okay, go! What's that? You say I already used the word. Damn, that was fast. Well, as you can clearly see, it's nearly impossible to type a sentence about this film without employing the I-word. (Is the film really that insane?) I don't know where to start. But, seriously, to answer your question, yes, it really is that insane. In fact, it's so insane at times, that I felt guilty about all the instances in the past where I used the word to describe other so-called works of cinematic insanity. Not so much in regard to movies like, Dandy Dust and Blood Diner, as those films are truly insane. But there are plenty of films floating around out there that are not worthy of being called insane. (But this one is you say?) Haven't you been paying attention? Yes, it's definitely worthy. Our hero is attacked by animated alligator skulls and red-eyed bats. Actually, that's kinda backwards. You see, the red-eyed bats are conjured by a demented witch doctor by pouring chicken blood over a bunch of alligator skulls that just happen to be lying around (just for the record, the alligator skulls were conjured too). Emerging from the eye holes of the alligator skulls, the red-eyed bats fly towards our hero in a menacing manner. When that doesn't result in the desired effect, the witch doctor sends the alligator skulls.

I'm not ashamed to admit this, but I totally want to be like Chan Hung (Phillip Ko Fei), the aforementioned hero of the story. (Of course you would. I mean, who wouldn't want to be a Hong Kong boxer who learns he was twins with a powerful monk named Abbot in a previous life?) What?!? No, I was referring to the fact that he gets to have sex with his Chinese girlfriend. (Oh, I see.) She, the Chinese girlfriend (Wai Ka-Man), is leggy as all get out, and, like I said twice already, she's Chinese.

(I'm sorry, but what's that got to do with anything?) Her being Chinese? (Yeah.) This may sound weird, but doesn't everyone want a Chinese girlfriend? Oh, and when I say "Chinese," I'm talking about women who are either from China or are of Chinese decent. (No, we understand what you mean.) I don't think you do. Every time I put on a "erotic movie" that purports to feature hot Asian chicks, none of them are ever Chinese. Sure, some of look like they're on the cusp of being Chinese, but they're never really Chinese. (And this annoys you?) You're goddamn right it does.

Anyway, after being rescued from certain death by the spirit of a dead monk, Chan Hung goes home to bask in the legginess that only a woman who is truly Chinese can provide.

And oh my God! Does he ever bask.

Look at you!

You Chinese Chinese girlfriend-sporting motherfucker!

I'm going to find out where you live.

And when I do...

I'm going to come over and congratulate you on your good fortune in the Chinese girlfriend department. Just kidding, I'm going to wait until to you travel to Thailand to become a monk, then go over to your house and start hitting on your Chinese girlfriend something fierce.

(Wait, why does Chan Hung need to be rescued?) Do you really want me to get into this? I mean, I could talk about Chinese chicks for hours. (No, really, why does he need to be rescued?) Okay, you remember how Bolo Yeung cheated when fighting Jean-Claude Van Damme's character in the movie Bloodsport? Well, after Chan Lung's brother defeats Bolo Yeung, a Thai boxer, in a boxing match, Bolo does the same by breaking his brother's neck, which paralyzes him from the neck down. After the fight, Chan Hung, a low level gangster of some kind, is set to meet a rival gangster at a warehouse on the mainland. When he gets there, he's ambushed. However, just as he's about to be killed, a mysterious monk intervenes, rescuing him from–you guessed it–certain death.

(Did the mysterious monk purposefully cause the Thai boxer to paralyse his brother so that he would be forced to travel to Thailand to avenge him?) I don't know 'bout that, but Chan Hung does travel to Thailand to confront Bolo Yeung. While riding in a small water taxi, Chan notices a gold symbol glowing on the top of a nearby temple. Similar to the symbol he saw the night he made sweet love with his leggy Chinese girlfriend against the rain-soaked sliding doors of his swanky pad, Chan instructs the driver to swing on by the temple.

And wouldn't you know it, not only do the monks know his name, they were expecting him. One of them tells Chan that Abbot, the mysterious monk, died not so long ago, and explains how that came about. The flashback sequence detailing how Abbot's death came about is our first hint that this film isn't hooked up right. It shows Abbot confronting a black magician at the airport. Causing the black magician's skin to turn green, he eventually, after the green flesh bubbles have burst, collapses and dies. Out of his mouth, a bat emerges, which Abbot manages to capture.

Meanwhile, a witch doctor/shaman/professional crazy person is fuming over the fact that a monk is ritually killing his bat. "How dare they kill my bat," he says to himself, as he prepares to right this proceived wrong. Using rats blood to revive it, the reanimated skeletal remains of his bat try to make a run for the temple door, but the monk stops it just in the nick of time and proceeds to smash the upright bat's bones with a mallet.

If you thought the witch doctor was going to just sit idly by let this bat-based transgression go unpunished, think again. Extracting venom from some snakes, the witch doctor plans to poison the bat-murdering monk. But how does he get the poison into the monk's body? It's simple, really, have some spiders drink the poison, and then lower them onto his face as he sleeps. (Why doesn't he just shoot him in the head with a gun?) Witch doctors don't shoot people with guns. Duh.

The look on Chan Hung's face after being told this weird and wild story is one of disbelief. When the monks show Chan Abbot's nearly decomposed body sitting cross-legged in a special room, he's still not convinced. (He must have been convinced when Abbot--who's legally dead--tells Chan that they're twins from a past life, and that he will die when his body fully decomposes in a few months.) Not really. I won't say what finally does convince him, but let's just say it's pretty gross.

In order to defeat evil, this Hong Kong gangster must retire from the world and become a monk. Running his hand through his hair one last time, Chan Hung gets down to business. (Don't you mean, monk-ey business?) I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that.

Re-branded as "Kaidi Baluo," Chan is now ready to fight. Swooping in right on schedule, the witch doctor, a minion of the Lord of the Darkness, starts things off by sicking a bunch of red-eyed bats on Chan. After a handful of similar tactics fail to yield results, the witch doctor decides to employ his own head. Removing it via black magic, the witch doctor's head attacks Chan by strangling him with the tendons that are dangling from his neck. Nice.

When the battle is over, Chan goes back to Hong Kong to have sex with his Chinese girlfriend and to kick the crap out of the Thai boxer who paralyzed his brother, the end. Damn, what an amazing movie. It has everything: Leggy Chinese chicks, leggy Chine... Hold on, what's this? It would seem some of witch doctor's disciples are up to no good. Great. That means he has to go back to Thailand and do it all over again. However, this time he fights a demented warrior princess in Nepal. Cue the weirdness. Or I should say, cue the awesomeness. At any rate, I give this film five leggy Chinese chicks out of five.