Saturday, September 29, 2012

R.I.P. Herbert Lom (1917-2012)

R.I.P. Former Chief Inspector Dreyfus! You'll get Clouseau someday!

"Give me ten men like Clouseau, and I could destroy the world!"

Clouseau: "How can a blind man be a watchman?"-Dreyfus: "How can an idiot be a policeman?!"

"That nincompoop, that megalomaniac. He's setting the science of criminal investigation back a thousand years."

"Compared to Clouseau, this weapon is a mere water pistol!"

"Whatever they do to me now, it's not half of what he has done already!"

"We're going to build a doomsday machine and conquor the world-have a sweet!"

"I'm fine! Every day, in every way, I'm getting better, and better, hahahahha, somewhere, over the rainbow, hahahahahaha!"

Jacqueline Clouseau/Gambrelli: "You have recieved a beump!"-"Dreyfus: B...Beump?..."

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Camp and Cult Blogathon-Just Imagine (1930)

This post is part of the The Camp and Cult Blogathon (I tried to link the Camp and Cult portion of this post's title, but it wouldn't let me, so that's down here...)...

In the last few months I've reviewed two El Brendel films. Both of them had the drawback of El practically vanishing halfway through the movie. 'Luckily' for me, there is a movie which El Brendel had the main starring role in. NNNOOOOOO!...or, YYYEEEEESSSSSS!, depending on whether or not El is going to be grating or entertaining...

A hit when it was first released, 1930's Just Imagine is a sci-fi musical that 'starred' El Brendel, a move that Fox wasn't too eager to do again (El Brendel was popular, but they didn't think he could carry a movie on his own, which is probably true-ish).

The film opens with a narrator telling us to 'Just imagine what a difference 50 years can make! Take a look at New York in 1880'. The movie shows a Ye Olde New Yorke, and then switches to fifty years later, to 1930's NY. The narrator talks about what a change took place for technology and society, etc. between those fifty years, then the film cuts to the future 1980 (*stifles laughter*), a society where people have numbers (which the film names with ones like LN/Ellen-J/Jay-RT/Artie, etc.), not names, and the government decides who you marry. Flying cars are abound, and spandex is...surprisingly not in...

Holy Crap! 1980 looks like it's going to be a truly magnificent part of human history! Why, in another few years, we could be setting up a space federation! Just Imagine what the year 2012 will hold!

On a futuristic air highway, two hovercar-plane-thingies stop in mid-air, and the pilots, LN-18 (Maureen O'Sullivan) and J-21 (John Garrick) get talking. The two are lovers who want to marry each-other, but LN is forcibly engaged to someone else (Is it just me, or is this a profoundly fucked up society to set your lighthearted slapstick romp in?!).

ln a flashback to J's day, we see that his marriage application to LN is turned down by the tribunal, but he has four months to prove himself as a 'distinguished' man, and if he does, he'll be able to marry LN rather than MT-3 (a stuffy prick).

Back at J's apartment, he's trying to think of a way to prove his worth to the tribunal. One musical number later, J's roomate RT's [Frank Albertson] (fun but kinda grating) girlfriend D-6 (Marjorie White) comes over, ready to go with RT to a medical experiment at her workplace, where her boss is going to try and bring a man who's been dead for fifty years back to life.

The scientists bring the dead man back to life, and before you can say shoot it in the head, El Brendel is up and running. As soon as he's alive, the scientists ditch Brendel, as they don't need him anymore, and J and RT decide to take Brendel-who renames himself Single O-in. As for El, rather than being depressed at the fact that pretty much everyone he knew and loved is dead, he's more upset because his Elks Club membership has expired...

So, the trio all go off, arm in arm (yeah, the 30's were strange) to paint the town red...

After a day on the town, featuring food flavoured pills, the fact that cars not used very much nowadays, being pretty much replaced with planes (Single O: "It looks like someone got even with Henry Ford!"), prohibition is still around (but there are alcohol pills, which still get you hammered, so what kind of prohibition is this?) and this future has a way for couples to get babies that made me think WHATINALLTHEFUCK?!?!

Leaving Single O to wait by a street, J and RT go to covertly visit LN, with D-6. Everything goes fine until a pill-drunk El Brendel accidentally gets the lovers caught by MT. After the trio are forced out by MT, J walks off and contemplates suicide. He's about to drown himself in a river, but is talked out of it by...a guy. The guy takes J to Z-4, a scientist (with crazy Mabuse eyes) who wants to hire J (a pilot) for a mission to Mars. J believes Z instantly (c'mon dude, he could be a serial killer who wants to turn you into awnings!), and, while reluctant to accept the mission at first, is convinced by Z, who tells J that if he completes the mission, he'll be 'distinguished' enough to marry LN.

After a drinking song farewell from their pilot buddies, a party is held, featuring a duet with RT and D (I don't care what this musical number says, I will always swat at flies!), followed by a comedy song-and-dance routine by Single-O. Afterwards, J and RT get in their rocket and blast off, heading for mars.

They soon see that Single-O has stowed away (which doesn't bother J or RT in the slightest), and come a month later, the trio get to Mars and find a strange alien society...

Just Imagine is a weird film. It's meant to be funny, but mostly isn't, but I still found the movie to be pretty entertaining. It doesn't have many actually funny scenes (pretty much all the successful humour comes courtesy of El Brendel), and the plot just goes along from one point to the next until it's over.

The first thing to talk about with this movie are the effects! (Some of which were reused in the 1930's Flash Gordon serial). They range from pretty decent to great, with futuristic cityscapes, an alien planet and Martian idols. One cool thing about Just Imagine is how the plane-cars are always moving in the distance, out of windows, etc.-It makes the movie feel less stagey!

The whole Mars portion is pretty fun, with cool sets, a long and extravagant musical number like the one in 1935's She, kooky outfts (one with what looks like armour made from metal nipples), Martian women who have hairstyles that are actually true to the 80's(!), and a plot hole-if the guys needed proof of Mars, why didn't they bring cameras? Snap up a few photos or film the Martian lanscape, either plan sounds better than bringing nothing but your bodies!

At an hour and forty-eight minutes, Just Imagine may sound overlong, but it isn't, and it feels a lot shorter than it actually is.

The acting is decent, with El Brendel being the standout. He's not annoying in this, sometimes funny, and his trademark j-to-y swapping is back by the film's end-'Yudge'-'Is there no yustice?'-'It's yust mind over matter'- but sadly, he never says 'yee vizz!'...

Thanks to the movie being pre-Hay Code (fuck whoever made the Hays Code with a rusty bayonet covered in dead diseased fleas!), it's full of skimpy clothing for dozens of female characters, which is of course, awesome!

Just Imagine biggest problem is how dated it is, but that's also part of the film's charm. And I suppose 1980 was a far-away-enough year for the film's writers to use...

To finish up, Just Imagine is definitely worth a watch, although some may not enjoy it as much as I did.

One last thing-to quote the movie, with the future having fashion like that, then nuts to the good old days!

The Camp and Cult Blogathon-The Nasty Rabbit (1964)

Well here I am with another Arch Hall Jr. film to review. Buuuut this one, spy comedy The Nasty Rabbit, is not on the Wild Guitar or The Sadist side of Hall Jr.'s filmography but more on the Eegah! side...oh no...

The Nasty Rabbit starts off in a submarine, with a Russian military guy, Marshall Malout (Arch Hall Sr.) detailing his evil plan to his henchmen. He has had a disease made, which he has in a vial around a bunny's neck, which he will set loose in America, causing an epidemic.

Henchman Mischa (Michael Terr) is sent into America with the rabbit (hidden in a large fake camera) via a boat, and is watched on arrival by several spies from different countries (as if they all think they're watching Inspector Clouseau). Mischa manages to leave the beach and he heads for a dude ranch. On his way there he meet's up with the ranch's owner, Handles Gavin (Hal Bokar). What follows is the movie's pitiful attempt at humour. Get this, for nearly a full minute, Mischa tries to get on a horse, but can't! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! THAT IS SO...not funny, movie!

Mischa (with his cover story being that he's from Montana) arrives at the ranch and is introduced to Jackie (Sharon Ryker), Gavin's daughter. Soon after, A guy on a motorbike arrives just as Jackie is telling Mischa about the upcoming dance, which will have Britt Hunter, a famous singer. She notices the motorbike guy (and looks at him, pouting curiously for nearly half a minute before she notices who it is), and recognizes him as
Hunter (Arch Hall Jr.).

Two of the spies from the beach arrive at the ranch, the the lady spy Cecilia (Liz Renay) talks with Mischa, in a scene with painful overacting! Meanwhile two other spies arrive, and one bumps intoHOLYCRAPJAWS!

Really, I shouldn't be surprised that Richard Kiel is in this movie-he was in Eegah! after all.

Britt, a secret agent, talks with Gavin about the Russian spy and the 'fornacious bacteria'-Gavin: "Is it really as deadly as they say?-Hunter: "I'm afraid it is."-If it is, then why are you both laughing?!

After about twenty minutes worth of unfunny spy antics, the movie has what it should have had a looong time ago-an Arch Hall Jr. musical number!

Soon, dawn is approaching, the rabbit is lost, and every spy on the ranch is after it before the virus is released...

Oh and by the way, the rabbit talks!...

The Nasty Rabbit is a watchable movie, and Arch Hall Jr. is cool in his ten-or-so minutes of screentime, but it's mostly unfunny, with such POWERHOUSE running jokes such as 'Mischa can't get on a horse' and 'the Japanese guy keeps falling out of trees' (I got the picture the fifth freakin' time it happened, movie!)!

The characters are mostly stereotypes, from the grungy sombrero-clad Mexican, to the buck-toothed Japanese guy, to the German possibly-former-nazi, who I would say is a low-rent knock-off of Kenneth Mars' character from The Producers, but The Nasty Rabbit predates that movie by four years.

The allegiance of the multinational spies is also confusing. Are they working against eachother? With each-other? And is Arch Hall Jr. part of their team or a completely unrelated spy?

The film does have a few positives. One is, of course, Arch Hall Jr., and others are Sharon Ryker as Jackie and Liz Renay's Cecilia.

The film is full of exaggerated sound effects and kooky characters, as well as a rabbit whose thoughts we can hear.

In closing, I don't recommend The Nasty Rabbit, although I will say this-I enjoyed it a LOT better than It's A Mad Mad Mad World! (A reviewer on IMDb thought the two similar, and I think the finale definitely is).

This post is part of the The Camp and Cult Blogathon (I tried to link the Camp and Cult portion of this post's title, but it wouldn't let me, so that's down here...)...

Friday, September 21, 2012

100th Review: The Camp and Cult Blogathon-Rock 'n' Roll Cowboys (1987)

Well here's my 100th review! I planned on doing something special, and I was going to review The Mask of Fu Manchu (per my blog's title) until I realized that my 50th review was Neon Maniacs. Since Neon Maniacs was a horror film with a large concert (kinda) for the climax, I decided that I'd review another rock 'n' roll horror movie for my 100th review. So, come my 150th, 200th, 250th, etc., I'll be reviewing stuff like Trick 'r Treat, Rock and Roll Nightmare, Hard Rock Zombies, etc. So without further delay, here's my review for Rock 'n' Roll Cowboys!...

If there's one thing us Australians are good for, it's exploitation! From the soap opera tv series Number 96, which featured full frontal nudity and graphic sex scenes, to the women-in-prison show Prisoner (believe it or not, but the the women-in-prison genre is practically mainstream over here!), Razorback, the killer pig movie, and Mad Dog Morgan, a film that was censored in America by Troma! (which I imagine they were forced to do, due to the 'moral guardians').

What I'm reviewing today is a massively obscure Ozploitation movie about a super-psycho-christian who believes that rock music has destroyed the future, so he time-travels back to destroy it...Or at least, that's what the film's trailer would have you believe. The film's actual plot isn't far off though, and is still some crazy stuff!

The movie starts off with a bunch of rockers setting up in a dingy recording studio. While singing their song (which is cool, but a bit repetitive), the studio's power short cicuits...Which one of the studio techs learns the hard way when trying to stop it!-"Got no power. I got power, I got power! Like 250 volts straight in the brainbox! I just turned my arse into a nuclear reactor!". One band member, Stevie (Greg Parke), leaves in a huff, and the singer, Tina (Niki Coghill) goes after him. The studio's power comes back on (when a mysterious spiked ball rolls onto the room's rafters), but the rest of the band all head out to leave, and two groupies hanging about asks Mickey (David Franklin) and Eddie (Peter Phelps), the two technicians out on a date. Mickey declines, as he's busy with work, and Eddie and the girls head off.

Upstairs is a strange man, talking to someone on a transceiver, and back in the recording studio, weird stuff start happening. Mickey sees a note on the ground-"Have you heard the song of Jesus?". He tosses it away, and in comes Tina. The two drink and chat until Tina falls asleep. Then more weird events occur...

Mickey sees a weird spiked metal ball up in the rafters, and he climbs up to get to it, which takes him outside. He touches the ball and is immediately wracked with pain. Then something stupid happens. Mickey hears a tune (the movie's main theme) coming from a high up window, and, for no reason, Mickey decides to climb up to the precarious ledge to the window! He's let in the room by a crazy-eyed guy (John Doyle), who has a high-tech sound-thought-system (that he created) set up. After giving Mickey a drink drugged with a...plastic star thingie, the man let's Mickey try out the machine. Mickey tries it and it makes him trip out, seeing some strange stuff.

The film cuts to skeezy record producer (I think), Harvey (Ben Franklin), who's Mickey's (and the band from the start's) boss. Mickey tells Harvey about the thought-synthesizer.

A little later, the man, named Damien Shard (is that a cool name or what!) shows his music-thought gizmo to the band and co. Harvey uses the machine and imagines an intensely screwed up scenario! Let's just say that it involves chains, leather, a dog collar, a dominatrix, a hoist, a fear of heights, and Harvey being turned on by being burned alive. Um, ew...

Shard will give the band the thought synthesizer on the one condition that they let Mickey be the main singer. Harvey and the band refuse and Damien leaves with the machine.

Next follows an incredibly repetitive instrumental song that made me want to bash my head into the speakers! Mickey and Tina talk, and he yells at her for taking Stevie's side before. She walks off in a huff, and the drunken Mickey leaves the bar and stumbles into a nearby church, where he collapses. Inside is Damien, who talks about when he was a kid, he watched Mickey on tv-something to do with Pondorosa Cowboys. Mickey mumbles that he's never been on tv, and one brief trippy dream sequence later, he's in his caravan being woken up by Eddie.

Eddie tells Mickey that one of the band, Dupont tried to recreate Shard's thought synthesizer, and now thinks he's a monkey.

Rather than have Mickey play Dupont's part, the band decides to play a recording of Dupont's instrument playing live. Mickey leaves in a rage, and later that night, he recieves the thought synthesizer in the mail, along with a bunch of plastic stars (in a bag labelled 'eat me', which Mickey does with one! Dude, they could be anything! Dumbass).

Mickey is called back to the studio and convinced to use the synthesizer to help the band (all of what I just summarized takes place offcreen!), and he makes the band sound better than ever before. Later that night (I guess), the band are at a big party, organized by Shard, and his evil plans come to fruition...

Rock 'n' Roll Cowboys isn't a bad movie, but it's not particularly great either. Not enough happens during the first hour, then everything else happens during the last half-hour-it's not good pacing! For the first hour of the film, the character of Damien Shard does barely anything, and we have no idea what he's up to for ages.

There are also a few maddenly unexplained plot points. What did Harvey's secretary (I think) Karla (Dee Krainz) have to do with anything? Is she working for Shard? It's never explained. And who the hell were the guys in yellow suits and gas masks at the climax who seemed to be working for Shard? And what's with Damien Shard? Who is he? What does he want to destroy rock music for? Because he watched a super-catholic tv show when he was a kid? That's not a good enough reason for someone to be a supervillain. The film's trailer gives a better backstory/motivation and that wasn't even in the movie! (What the trailers says definitely makes sense in the film's context!). And the ending is also crazy nonsensical. It made me just go "huh?!".

As for the film's music, it's half-and-half for me. Some songs were good, and others I didn't like so much.

The acting is all decent, with John Doyle being the highlight as the crazy-eyed villain Damien Shard. He doesn't get all that much screentime though, and he's defeated really easily at the end-too easily!

The best thing about Rock 'n' Roll Cowboys is how quotable it is!
"That was a really weird dream, man! Monkeys with keyboards were trying to strangle me!"
"That was a holy instrument, Mickey, and you profaned it. You made the band sound...good!"
"Don't die Mickey! People only die in the movies, Mickey!"
"Who changed my guitar into a baseball bat?" (This isn't memorable mainly because of the line, but more from its delivery).

I do recommend Rock 'n' Roll Cowboys, even if it isn't the best, or the craziest rock 'n' roll horror flick out there...

This post is part of the The Camp and Cult Blogathon (I tried to link the Camp and Cult portion of this post's title, but it wouldn't let me, so that's down here...)...

The Camp and Cult Blogathon-Riki Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is a film that's gotten  HUGE cult following thanks to the internet. The film is full of so many ultra-gory moments, that it's no surprise the movie became an online phenomena! What is Riki-Oh, you ask? It was an ultraviolent manga, that was adapted into an equally brutal anime, and eventually made into a movie in 1991...

Riki-oh: The Story of Ricky takes place in the futuristic year of 2001 (um...), in a future where prisons have become privatised business'. A man named Ricky-Ho (yeah, not Ricky-Oh...or Riki-Oh-confusing!...Maybe because I watching the dubbed version [which is not a problem, since the dub adds in a few awesome lines!]) is sent to a prison and...stuff happens...VERY gory stuff!...

Riki-Oh starts off at a prison, where the titular character (Louis Fan) is being transferred. After a problem with the jail's metal detector (Ricky's chest is filled with bullets), Ricky is let in along with the other transferred prisoners. The prison is run by the 'gang of four', a group of super tough (as in, if they clap on your head, you won't have a head anymore!) prisoners working for the warden and assistant warden of the prison.

One of the four's lackeys, Samuel, is beating up an inmate with his goons when he's tripped by Ricky onto a board of nails (what was it doing there?) and half of his face is stabbed. Later, Samuel's face is bandaged up and he seems to be talking quite calmly for a guy who had a board of nails rammed into his face and eye!

Samuel wants to get back at Ricky, and he decides to get dangerous inmate 'Zorro' to kill him, and organizes the plan with one of the guards. The next day, Zorro attacks Ricky in the prison showers as Sam watches. Zorro tosses Ricky across a room, but as he charges, Ricky punches through his stomach, making his guts fall out! Samuel then charges at Ricky with a spike, and Ricky stops him by GRABBING SAMUEL'S HAND, LETTING THE SPIKE IMPALE HIS OWN HAND, THEN RICKY PULLS THE SPIKE OUT OF HIS HAND WITHOUT FLINCHING! Ricky destroys Samuel and is taken away by the guards ("Another move and I'll hit you!" says the guard's dub voice to the guy who's just gored two people up!).

After being taken back to his cell, Ricky has a flashback to when he wasn't in prison. He meets his uncle in a cemetery, and the uncle talks about Ricky having super strength since he was a child. Ricky asks to be taught...a martial arts (don't ask me on the spelling), which involves Ricky's uncle tossing tombstones at him!

Due to the bathroom incident, Ricky is brought to see the assistant warden (Mei Sheng Fan). The assistant warden (nope, he's never named) claws Ricky's hand to his table when he refuses to tell the AW where he was for a two year span when he went missing. The assistant warden insults Ricky's (deceased) girlfriend and Ricky hulks out, punching the desk in half, knocking the room's guards out and walking off.

Later, one of Samuel's goons attacked by group for 'being a fink'. Oscar one of the group of four, comes onto the scene and breaks the fight up. After Oscar cuts a prisoner up for insulting him,  the assistant warden tells Oscar to do something to make the north ward stay submissive and gives him a knife (and offers some mints from his glass eye!).

Ricky and Oscar meet up for a fight out in the prison yard, and duke it out in one of the movie's most well known scenes. Oscar manages to temporarily blind Ricky with shredded glass and slice his arm open. Ricky, being an epic badass, washes his eyes out, punches one of Oscar's eyes out, then ties up his arm's split tendons together! Then Oscar commits seppuku, and when Ricky gets close, Oscar pulls out his own intestines and uses them to strangle Ricky! "Alright, you've got a lot of guts Oscar!" the assistant warden gleefully says! You see now why this movie is awesome?

Ricky X-Ray punches Oscar to death (the Terry Tsurugi technique!) , and thanks to Ricky's example, the prisoners start to rebel and are about to attack the assistant warden when the remaining gang of four come onto the scene and gore a few inmates up. Ricky decides to walk off, rather than let anymore prisoners die.

Ricky meets with Oscar's godson Alan, who had his tongue cut out for some reason. Ricky notices that Alan has some poppy leaves on him, and Rogan (Yukari Oshima, a woman, playing a man! And dubbed by a guy too...) sees Alan point where the leaves are. Thenking Alan has betrayed the gang of four, he (*stifles laughter*) takes Alan to the rest of the gang of four and slices him up!

Later that nght, Ricky sees Alan's body, and in a fit of rage, he finds the gang of four's opium greenhouse and burnns it to the ground.

The assistant warden and the remaining gang of four try to handle Ricky, and soon, the menacing warden of the prison finally arrives...

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is an amazing ride! It's ultra-gory, has corny jokes (well, the dubbed version at least), and is very entertaining! It's filled to the brim with craziness-as if the punching people's brains out of their heads, slicing limbs off, intestine-strangling, and head-clap-explodey weren't crazy enough, during the final fight between Ricky and the warden, the warden turns into a giant monster!

Ricky is definitely a cool hero! He's not much of a character, but his super coolness makes up for that! Seriously, if he can rip chains apart and punch people's jaws off, then he's a cool badass dude in my book!

The film's main villain, the warden, doesn't appear until the last half-hour, but he still leaves an impression. He's fun, and makes for an awesome final villain (his explanation for turning into a giant monster?-"The warden of any prison has to be the very best in kung fu!"-Umm, okaay...).

The assistant warden is a fun character, and he sure can survive a lot! He has his one eye punched out, his jugular stabbed with a broken bottle, his arm cut off, and he's thrown through a concrete wall, and he's still alive after all of that! Also, he has a fiiine collection of porn!

One problem the film has is a constantly repeated music tune, but that's not too much of a problem.

The strangest thing about the film is how all the inmates never have their cells locked! If there's a fight going on somewhere, everyone just rushes out of their open cells to watch, and so on!

An apparent plot hole is when Ricky, on the action-hero high that one can only get from pushing the Hulk into a woodchipper, punches straight through the prison's wall and knocks it down!...Why he didn't just do that to begin with I do not know...

So, in closing, if you haven't seen Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, get to it, or else I'll pull my intestines out and super-punch you with them!...

This post is part of the The Camp and Cult Blogathon (I tried to link the Camp and Cult portion of this post's title, but it wouldn't let me, so that's down here...)...