Sunday, August 30, 2015

Shakma (Tom Logan, 1990)

What are you doing with those wires, Christopher Atkins, star of The Pirate Movie and The Blue Lagoon? Don't you know you're going to shock Shakma, the simian star of Shakma, if you continue down the path you're currently leading? Okay, now that I got the obligatory "Shock the Monkey" reference out of the way, we can safely move on to less pedestrian ground. At around midway point, the thought, "Wow. This movie sucks," started to rear its scabies-laden head. Struggling to remain interested in this tale of a crazed baboon running amok through the halls of a teaching hospital, I began to get restless. Then I remembered something Ari Meyers tells Christopher Atkins near the beginning of the film. Informing Atkins that she has a surprise in store for him, I thought to myself: I've got to see this surprise. I mean, if I know one thing, it's that Ari Meyers (Kate und Allie) is the master when it comes to surprises. In all honesty, I kind of had an idea what her surprise entailed. Nevertheless, I waded through another forty or so minutes of intense, door humping baboon action in order to see this surprise.

Well, I have to say, not only was her surprise worth the wait, the film as a whole started to improve as well. I'm not kidding, the midway point thought, "Wow. This movie sucks," was soon replaced with, "Wow. This movie is awesome." 

Granted, all that business involving drab-looking med students using walkie-talkies ad nauseam while playing some elaborate role-playing game was still kinda lame. ("All that business"? Don't you mean, "all that monkey business"?) But once you see Ari Meyer's surprise, you'll totally forget about that silly game. Of course, if there was no game, there would be no surprise. You see, since the med students are playing a role-playing game that revolves around saving a princess, Kim (Ari Meyers) decides to bring an extra layer of authenticity to the proceedings by dressing as an actual princess.

Not wanting to spoil the surprise, Kim keeps her plan a secret. If you look closely, you can see that Kim is carrying a large bag (a bag that no doubt contains her princess costume) when she enters the hospital. It should be noted, however, that Kim's decision to dress like a princess has nothing to do with authenticity. No, the only thing Kim is interested in is impressing Sam (Christopher Atkins), a blonde yet sensitive med student.

Only problem being, Sam is seeing Tracy (Amanda Wyss), a fellow med student. Well, there are actually two problems. In addition to the fact that Sam and Tracy are an item, there's a killer baboon ripping people's faces off on the fifth floor.

The kooky thing is, only half the characters in this film seem to realize that they're unwitting stars of a deranged baboon movie. In fact, Gary (Robb Edward Morris), "the black guy," doesn't find out that he's in a deranged baboon movie until the hour mark.

Anyway, when I saw Ari Meyers practicing crossing and uncrossing her legs in her princess outfit in the teacher's lounge, I immediately began to map out the long-winded spiel I intended unleash in its honour. But like I sort of implied earlier, while Ari Meyer's surprise princess get-up is the reason this review exists, the movie itself managed to slowly win me over.

The top-notch performance by the Chacma baboon at the center of this ape-tastic tale and the many despondent looks Christopher Atkins sports after discovering a mauled friend lying in a pool of their own blood were two of the main non-Ari Meyers dressed as a princess-related reasons this film gets my stamp of approval.

And, yes, you heard right. I called the baboon's performance "top-notch." What other expression would you use to describe the simian acting in this movie? There's no simple way around it, this is one talented cercopithecinae. Whether he's smashing violently against a locked door or smashing violently... against a locked door, it wouldn't surprise me if the baboon's fierce, go for broke attitude caused a number of people in the audience to expel a smallish amount of urine from their primary pee-holes.

Personally, I just sat there with mouth agape (my primary pee-hole was as dry as the Mojave desert), as I watched the baboon try to break down yet another locked door.

Okay, now that I got the prerequisite baboon door crashing talk out of the way. Let's get back to discussing Ari Meyers' princess outfit.

When we first meet Ari Meyers' Kim, she's dressed like your typical square dance attendee. Wearing a dress that goes all the way down to the floor(!), Kim, despite her conservative wardrobe, seems excited to play the princess in "The Game," a Dungeons and Dragons-style game that involves finding keys and solving puzzles.

Unfortunately, Kim's brother, Richard (Greg Flowers) must have overheard her talking about "The Game," because he manages to weasel his way into being a part of the fun. Seeing this as a way to ingratiate himself with Sorenson (Roddy McDowell), the lead doctor/animal torturer/'game master" at this particular teaching hospital/research center/polytechnic, Richard forgoes a night that is guaranteed to be filled with copious amounts of heterosexual intercourse to play this stupid game.

All right, maybe "copious" is pushing it, but it's clear that Laura (Ann Kymberlie), Richard's girlfriend, wants to fuck him pretty badly. The look on her face when she finds out the reason her pussy isn't going to be repeatedly stuffed with Richard's cock is because of some game is classic.

She's probably thinking to herself: The walls of my vagina are as smooth as expired creamed corn, yet you want to hang out with your frumpy sister and a bunch of dorks. Be my guest. *cough* Loser! *cough*

Enough about Laura's velvety box. Even though we get a couple of brief glimpses of Kim's princess outfit at around the midway point (the first comes near the forty minute mark), that doesn't diminish the impact of the scene where Sam gets his first look at Kim dressed as a princess. Sadly, it would seem that Sam is in no mood to compliment her, or even unfurl a half-chub, for that matter. If anything, Sam seems annoyed.

Sure, he's been busy watching his friends get killed one by one by a door-hating baboon, but would it kill you to at least tell Kim that she looks nice. Jeez.

Let's see if I covered everything. Ari Meyers looks amazing as a princess. The Baboon doesn't like doors. Laura has an agreeable vagina. Excessive walkie talkie usage. Black guy doesn't realize he's in a psychotic baboon movie for a solid hour. Uh... Did I mention that Amanda Wyss brings nothing to the table, wardrobe-wise? I didn't. Well, she doesn't. I mean, c'mon, Amanda, give me something to work with here. I'm not saying you have to dress like a princess. But the least you could have done was put on a jean skirt. Gawd. Other than forgetting to scold Amanda Wyss's wardrobe, I think that pretty much covers it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Mad Foxes (Paul Grau, 1982)

It's about time I watched a movie that is not only life affirming, but one that is spiritually enlightening as well. And, yes, I am fully aware that I'm currently talking about The Mad Foxes (a.k.a. Los violadores), a film that contains more exploding uncircumcised penises than you can shake a pair of bloodstained hedge clippers at. What can I say? If you don't find the thighs attached to Andrea Albani to be life affirming and/or spiritually enlightening, than I'm afraid there's little hope for you. Not to worry, though, if Andrea's killer thighs fail to evoke any response (seriously, you'd have to dead for them not to), I'm sure the ample booty attached to the ample booty chick from Cannibal Terror (a.k.a. Terreur cannibale) will do the trick. Oh, and the reason I call her "the ample booty chick from Cannibal Terror" is because I'm not quite sure what her name is. I'm thinking it could be "Mariam Camacho," but that name is not listed in the credits. In order to prevent further confusion, from now on I'm just going to call her Shapely Lina. Why, you ask? Well, Lina was the name of her character in Cannibal Terror, and she was, of course, shapely... Man, was she shapely. Mhhhm!).

Now, this might come across as pure, undiluted kooky-talk, but a film needs more than mouth-watering thighs and accommodating trunks filled with inordinate amounts of junk to be considered a true masterpiece.

At the behest of a colossal douche-nozzle who drives a Neufeld Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C3, a brief war is waged between a gang of Nazi bikers and the members of a non-prestigious karate school. If you need more than that, I don't know what else to say. It's got Nazi bikers, karate, thighs and big butts. End of story.

Did I mention that it's got  uncircumcised penises? I did? Where? Oh, yeah. I made reference to exploding uncircumcised penises a couple of minutes ago. Well, anyway, I think I must have spotted at least five uncircumcised penises in this movie. If you're wondering if this is a good thing. Trust me, it is... a good thing. I don't know if you know this, but uncircumcised penises are awesome.

It looks like I need to revise my list. It's got Nazi bikers, karate, thighs, big butts and uncircumcised penises. End of story. You know what? I'm going to hold off on the whole "end of story" thing, as I'm probably going to come up with a dozen more things that make this movie the righteous piece of Euro-sleaze that it is.

It should go without saying, but the reason I called the war between the Nazi bikers and the karate school rejects brief is because the Nazi bikers wield machine guns, while the karate school rejects... do not.

It all starts, like I said earlier, at the behest of a colossal douche-nozzle. His name is Hal (José Gras), and his desperately wants to lick up and down the legs that belong to Babsy (Andrea Albani), an eighteen year-old hottie with thighs that don't know the meaning of the word quit.

As he's taking Babsy to The Big Apple nightclub in his Corvette Stingray, Hal is confronted by a biker and his biker buddies while stopped at a red light. He doesn't know this, but one of the biker's biker buddies is killed moments after Hal drives off. I wonder if the biker and the rest of his biker buddies will hold Hal responsible for their friend's death? Nah, they seem like reasonable chaps. Now, who's up for some swing dancing?

I know, swing dancing?!? The Big Apple looks like your typical Euro-disco. In other words, I don't see any swing dancing transpiring here anytime soon. Boy, was I wrong. At first I thought: Why are they showing couples dancing enthusiastically to swing music? I mean, is this same club? About midway through the extended swing dance number I gave up trying to figure out why this was happening, and just sat back and soaked in the bat-shit.

After chatting with a woman who is wearing way too much denim, and ordering a bottle of champagne, Hal escorts Babsy to a backroom lounge (complete with car seat couches).

In the spirit of transparency, the only reason I elected to watch this movie was because I saw a picture of a leggy brunette lounging leggily on a car seat couch.

And, of course, my instincts were absolutely correct. The sight of Andrea Albani sitting in a white, see-through, slit-heavy dress as she waited for José Gras to procure more booze is one of the most arresting images in the history of cinema.

Unfortunately, The Mad Foxes isn't about Andrea Albani lounging about in various Barcelona nightclubs. (It's not?) No, it's about Hal trying not to get killed by a gang of Nazi bikers.

Assaulted by those very same Nazi bikers outside The Big Apple, Hal, after a brief stay at the hospital, goes home, fixes himself a stiff drink, lights a cigarette, and calls up his friend who runs a non-prestigious karate school located on the outskirts of a gay fever dream.

I wasn't really paying attention, but I think the plan to get back at the Nazi bikers involves Hal and the karate guys attacking them during the funeral for their dead comrade. Nevertheless, the ensuing rumble is an epic battle of... Oh, who am I kidding? The fight between the bikers and the karate school assholes has got to be one of the lamest movie brawls I've ever seen. Hell, I've seen better fight choreography at my local playground. Not to imply that I like to watch kids playing at my local playground. In fact, I don't think there is a playground close to where I live. I suppose I could take the bus to one... Um, I don't like the direction this is review has currently taken, so, I'm going to stop typing words for a minute.

And... I'm back.  After the bikers massacre the karate rejects at their dojo (they didn't stand a chance), they come looking for Hal. Narrowly escaping the biker's attempt to murder him at his apartment, Hal hops in his Stingray and flees to the country. Picking up a female hitchhiker (Laura Premica) along the way, Hal takes refuge at his parents house; a palatial home complete with a maid staff, a stable boy and a gardener who sort of looks like Antanas Guoga.

How long do you think it will take for the bikers to find out where Hal hiding out? Judging by the way the morning light is illuminating the light dusting of jet black hair that peppers the surface of Hal's workmanlike buttocks as it helped foster his pelvic region plow his erect penis in and out of the hitchhiker's pussy while out hunting, I'd say two, maybe three hours. I know, what I just said doesn't make a lot of sense. The point I'm trying to make is this, hiding from a gang of psychotic Nazi bikers at your parents house is a terrible idea.

While the resulting murders are pretty great, the aftermaths are even greater. What I mean is, the death slumping in this movie is top notch. What's death slumping? Well, death slumping is something a murder victim does immediately after their organic structure is met with violence. Instead expiring right away, the victims make one last valiant attempt to appear not dead.

My favourite valiant attempts to not appear dead occur in Hal's house (a machine gunned maid slumps against a kitchen cabinet just before dying) and during Hal's revenge spree (a black stockings-clad Nazi dominatrix slumps beautifully against a wicker basket after getting shot in the abdomen - it's too bad her Nazi corset wasn't bulletproof).

This might sound a tad odd, but I was kind of disappointed that we never got to see Shapely Lina, the shapely bartender Hal tries to pump information out of, slump before dying. While I'm not even sure her shapely ass is killed, I still would have loved to have seen her make a valiant attempt to not appear dead after being shot or stabbed. Oh well.

Book-ended by the two Krokus songs ("Easy Rocker" and "Celebration"), The Mad Foxes is sexploitation done right. Okay, maybe opening and closing your movie with Krokus songs isn't exactly the right thing to do, but doing the right thing isn't what makes the sexploitation genre so darned appealing. Violent, sexy and stupid as fuck, this is what exploitation cinema should look like.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Steel and Lace (Ernest D. Farino, 1991)

Let's say your sister was raped by the biggest piece of yuppie scum the late 1980s ever produced, and, after said yuppie scum is acquitted by an all-mullet jury, she kills herself by jumping off the roof of the courthouse. Do you: A) Shrug your shoulders and say, "Them's the breaks." B) Hire another lawyer and demand a retrial C) Track down the yuppie scum and his yuppie scum accomplices and murder their yuppie scum asses. Or D) Transform your dead sister into a killer cyborg and have her hunt down the yuppie offenders one by one. Well, you can forget about 'A.' I mean, no-one wants to watch that movie. As for 'B.' What is this, a John Grisham novel? Pass. While I like the premise of 'C,' I'm afraid I've seen that movie before (in fact, I've seen it multiple times). No, the only logical choice is 'D.' And, as luck would have it, that's exactly the direction the makers of Steel and Lace (a.k.a. Čelik i čipka and Seducción asesina) decide to go.

Now, you're probably thinking to yourself: "Steel and Lace," "Cyborgs," "1991"? This sounds like a total cheese fest. While, yes, it does sound a tad on the cheesy side. The film is actually quite intelligent in places. Wait. Who am I kidding? It's not only intelligent in places, it's intelligent from start to finish. But get this, it's sleazy, too.

In order to exact revenge on yuppie scum in a manner that is sufficiently satisfying, you must utilize the ancient art of seduction. Sure, you could simply lift them up off the ground while their standing underneath a running helicopter, but what you really want to do is to make them suffer. And in the case two of the fellas, the best way to do this is to have them think they just won the poontang sweepstakes.

How, you might be thinking, is your sister going to seduce the yuppies? Aren't they going to recognize her if she walks up to them looking like that woman who killed herself after they were acquitted for her rape?

It helps that Albert Morton (Bruce Davison) is a cyborg expert (duh). It also helps that Albert's cyborgs are masters of disguise.

Feeling guilty after his sister, Gaily Morton (Clare Wren), commits suicide moments after her rapist, Daniel Emerson (Michael Cerveris) and his four accomplices, are found not guilty, Albert decides to put his cyborg expertise to good use. Well, I don't know if it's exactly "good use." I suppose it is if you're in favour of killing yuppie scum who getaway with rape. Either way, Albert has clearly put a lot of effort into avenging his dead sister. And, thanks to this movie, we get to see each yuppie death in gory detail.

Did anyone else find it odd that when we jump forward five years after his acquittal that Daniel Emerson was still sporting a ponytail? I don't want to analyze this too deeply, but I doubt he would still be rocking a ponytail after five years. I mean, hairstyles changed rapidly during the late 1980s/early '90s. One day you're wearing your hair like Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me-era Robert Smith, the next your do is done up like Irv Weinstein.

Anyway, Emerson, who inherited Emerson Realty from his family, and his "partners," represent the dark side of the 1980s.

We get a taste of this so-called "dark side" almost immediately, as we see them trying to evict an elderly gentlemen from his home so they can build a mini-mall. The sign out front reads: Another Emerson Mini-Mall Coming Soon. Their actions in this scene kind of reminded me of what the corporations did to Queen St. West in Toronto. Haven't you heard? Goth and freak central has been slowly transformed into a bland, corporate cesspool, filled with nothing but chain stores.

It sucks, man. Seriously, what does a brother have to do to get some pointy skull buckle boots up in this bitch? (Um, travel back in time to 1987.) Fuck you, dick-munch.

Sorry about that. Now, where was I? Ah, yes. Emerson and his band of shiftless sycophants are busy ruining society, one mini-mall at a time.

After telling the old dude that he's got twelve hours to pack up and leave before the wrecking ball starts swinging, Emerson and the gang get in their cars. It's here that we begin to follow Craig (John J. York), a bolo-tie/curly mullet enthusiast, as he makes his through the Hollywood Hills. Experiencing car trouble, Craig looks like he's in for a rough night. Hold on, what's this? It's a leggy blonde (J. Cynthia Brooks) in a T-Bird. When she's finished flirting with him, the leggy blonde (in the pink mini-skirt) offers Craig to "climb in... my car."

I liked the way she paused before saying "my car," as it made it sound like she was talking about her vagina.

Instead of driving him home, the leggy blonde takes him to a motel, one that offers hourly rates (maybe she was talking about her vagina after all). Just as Craig is starting to plant kisses all over her neck and chin, the leggy blonde pulls off her face to reveal her true identity. (Well, who is she?) It's Gaily Morton, the rape victim from five years ago. However, instead of pulling out a gun and shooting Craig in the head, Gaily deploys a large drill from her cyborg chest cavity and proceeds to penetrate Craig's non-cyborg chest cavity with it. This, as you might expect, causes Craig much discomfort.

Meanwhile, the frumpy courtroom sketch artist from Emerson's trial is now vivacious artist who lives in a cool loft. The way her character, Alison (Stacy Haiduk), gets involved with the Emerson murders is sort of contrived. But after a few awkward moments, I said, screw it, and just went along with it. Told to compile a book made up of courtroom sketches by her manager, Alison finds herself working alongside a cop named Clifford "Don't Call Me Cliffy" Dunn (David Naughton). A cop, by the way, who just happens to be Alison's ex-boyfriend and the detective in charge of solving Craig's murder.

While I would have loved to have seen the leggy blonde cyborg motif used for all the yuppie killings, to keep things interesting, they have Gaily use a number of different guises to entrap her yuppie prey. The weirdest being when Gaily pretends to be an FBI agent named Spoon (John DeMita) in order to wreak vengeance on Toby (Scott Burkholder) in the alleyway of a local bar.

My favourite non-leggy blonde cyborg yuppie killing has to be the one where cyborg Gaily poses as Miss Fairweather (Brenda Swanson), a bosomy secretary. Of course, the scene is not exactly perfect (there are no clear shots of Miss Fairweather's black nylons). But the way they edited the sound of Gaily's cyborg drill penis piercing the fleshy, non-cyborg penis that belongs to Oscar (Paul Lieber) with the sound of Alison's manager finishing off a Big Gulp in the building parking garage was pretty awesome.

With the authorities closing in, and there being only two yuppies left (including Emerson himself) to dispatch, will cyborg Gaily and Albert be able to get to them in time? Personally, I'm surprised the guy from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Brian Backer) was able to last this long (I figured he was going to be the first to buy it). At any rate, what looks like your standard cyborg rape revenge flick, is actually a well acted movie about loss. (Did you say, "well acted"?) I did. And it should come as no surprise, as both Clare Wren and Bruce Davison are excellent actors, who bring an air of respectability to the proceedings that I did not expect.

In closing, if you thought I Spit On Your Grave had too much rape and not enough cyborgs, Steel and Lace is the movie for you.