Friday, 23 March 2012

Swamp Thing (1982)

"Everything's a dream when you're alone"

That's just one of many pseudo-philosphical one-liners you get treated to in Swamp Thing, Wes Craven's attempt at adapting a DC Comic for the big screen. I know nothing about this comic, or comics in general, so I have no idea if it's a successful/truthful adaptation - all I know is that the film is an absolute blast.

I had pretty much given up on Wes Craven after Scream 4, which was one of the most atrocious piles of shit I have ever forced myself to sit through in the cinema. But, when the good folks at The Good Bad Movie Club announced that they were going to screen Swamp Thing at The Prince Charles...well...I decided to give the man another chance.

And I'm really glad I did. In fact, I might even watch that copy of Craven's Deadly Blessing (1981) I bought from Arrow Video a while back. It's been collecting collecting dust in fear of a repeat Scream 4 experience.

Anyway, Swamp Thing...a proper so bad it's amazing kinda film. An absolute top cast, with Ray Wise (you know, Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks amongst other things), Nicholas Worth (who was amazing in Don't Answer The Phone (1980)), David Hess (of The Last House on The Left (1972) and The House On The Edge Of The Park (1980) fame)...and then Adrienne Barbeau, who's been in a shitload of things, including Cannibal Women In The Avocado Jungle Of Death (1989).

The film is cheesy, but extremely charming and fun. Wise plays Doctor Holland, a scientist working on a secret project hidden away in a swamp. His goal, to create a combination of animal and plant capable of thriving under the harshest of conditions. So, yeah...his intentions are good, but just around the corner lurks the shape of Dr Anton Arcane, an evil scientist (actually, I'm not quite sure what he is) who wants to rule the world. He and his militia goons attempt to steal Holland's notebooks and the potion but it all goes a bit wrong. Holland turns into a half-man, half-swamp creature with super human strength and Alice (Barbeau) runs off with notebook number 7, containing the last piece of the puzzle. What follows is a cat and mouse chase through the swamp, where Arcane's goons try over and over again to get their hands on the book, only to be stopped by Holland (now the Swamp Thing!) Alice goes from being scared of Swampie to falling for his charms after realising that he's still Dr Holland at heart. It's all very stupid, but surprisingly sweet and never gets boring. It's really well-paced throughout.

A great film to watch with some friends and some beers. Louis Jordan really steals the show as the loon bag Arcane and the film is worth watching just to hear his hilarious, but often completely nonsensical one-liners.

"A man who loves, gives hostages to fortune."


So, give Swamp Thing a won't regret it.

Last night the guys at The Good Bad Movie Club had managed to locate a pristine 35mm print of the film and it really looked gorgeous. Normally when you're watching old prints scratches are part of the charm, but seeing a scratch-free 30-year old print was pretty awesome.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Franco's boring mess...

A while back I purchased Anchor Bay's Jess Franco collection boxset, consisting mainly of titles I had little or no knowledge off. I do find Franco fascinating and I know he has made some amazing films (99 Women and Eugenie to name two of my personal favorites). It is just so hard to find the good ones amongst all the crap...and the man has made alot of crap. Yesterday I looked up all the titles in the boxset om imdb to find the one with the highest user score. Not that a high imdb scores mean that much, but at least it provides some sort of indication (score was 5.8/10 from 420+ user by the way) on whether something is completely unwatchable. The highest rated film in the box was Love Letters Of A Portuguese Nun.

The 80 minute running time felt like forever. A young girl, Maria, is innocently messing around with her boyfriend in the woods. They're caught by a priest, who convinces the Maria's mother to give away all her savings and send her off to a convent so that her soul can be saved. Of course the priest is a dirty bastard and so is the head nun, but not only that. They're also satanists and want to use Maria in their ceremonies. Maria isn't being very cooperative and she is eventually sentenced to be burned at the stake (it's set back in those days). Awaiting her execution, she writes a letter to God and he hears her prayer. Well, a Prince that happens to ride by finds the letter and stops the execution.

Unfortunately, no amount of sexy nuns could change the fact that this film is boring, boring, boooooring.

If this is the highest rated film in the boxset, I'm not sure I want to watch any of the others.

Could someone please recommend some good Franco, before I give up on the man completely.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

An old favorite - The Gods Must Be Crazy III (1991)

I don't really know/understand what's up with all these old classics being available in their entirety on youtube. It seems to be a recent thing. But, I guess we shouldn't complain...and take advantage of it while it lasts.

The one I found today is one my all-time favorites, a film that is incredibly stupid and crap in every possible way, yet utterly awesome. Yup, it's pretty impossible to dislike The Gods Must Be Crazy III (aka Crazy Safari).

Here it is...enjoy!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

I watch movies so you don't have to #12 - Terminal Island (1973)

Terminal Island (1973)
Directed by: Stephanie Rothman
Starring: Don Marshall, Phyllis Davis, Ena Hartman and Tom Selleck

So, this one was interesting. An island "prison" film made by a female director. I'd never actually heard of Stephanie Rothman, but a quick glance at her imdb page told me she was the first female to be given a Directors Guild of America fellowship and the she credits Roger Corman as her only mentor. Not surprising then that her filmography is made up of titles like The Working Girls, The Student Nurses, It's a Bikini World and Blood Bath.

Anyway, I did really enjoy this one. Set in the near future, where the state of California have abolished the death penalty. Instead, convicted murderers (male and female) are sent to Terminal Island, a small island 40 miles off the coast, surrounded by electronic mines, where they are dumped and left to fend for themselves. No guards, no nothing...just an island of murderers trying to survive.

As usual, this post contains big spoilers and some images depicting violence and nudity.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Video of the day (The Death Set - The Come To Get Us)

The new Death Set video is pretty damn awesome...yup.

Chopping Mall (1986)

How can you not love a film that contains lines like:

"Let's go send these fuckers a Rambo-gram"


"What's that? Robot blood."


"Computer, huh? Let's go crash the fucker"


"I guess I'm not used to being chased around a mall in the middle of the night by killer robots"

The movie....

Oh yes! Seriously...Chopping Mall is just awesome...and is pretty much the definition of a true 80's classic. It has everything you want...EVERYTHING! Robots shooting laser, exploding heads, computers with square flashing lights, nudity, terrible clothes, ridiculous haircuts, big guns,'s all there....and more...the list goes on.

Some fancy-pants shopping mall have just introduced a new automated security team, the Protectors (No's 1, 2 and 3), three ultramodern security robots, programmed to protect the mall from intruders after hours. It should have been so easy. The robots were meant to be able to distinguish between baddies and good guys just by asking to see an identity badge...but somewhere it just went horribly wrong. I guess it's difficult to precise programming when your computer just has a few rows of flashing square lights.

One of the protectors

Anyway, a group of young mall employees are taking advantage of their keyholding responsibilities by having an after hours party at The Furniture King, one of the shops. They do what teenagers do in these kind of movies...get drunk, fool around, strut around in their underwear etc. And then...BOOM! the robots go crazy and start killing them off one by one. They have to take full advantage of what the mall has to offer and find the tools to outsmart those robots. I like to think this is all intended to be some some powerful satirical comment of American consumerism a la Romero's Dawn Of The Dead, but I doubt it...I think it's pretty much just robots killing kids and the kids fighting back.

Of course it's's called Chopping Mall...but it's also totally awesome. Seriously, watch it...or I'll send the Protectors after you.


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Music video of the day (The Wave Pictures - Eskimo Kiss)

I don't think I ever posted this one.

It's a music video I made back in January this year for The Wave Pictures. The song is Eskimo Kiss and it's from their upcoming album Long Black Cars, which should be out sometime soon-ish.

It was shot on super-8 negative film over a few hours one afternoon on Hampstead Heath in North London. The 'concept' was basically an adaptation of an old idea for a video, that I wanted to do for my own band...and then wanted to do for another band...and eventually ended up suggesting for this one. The original idea involved ninjas dancing with shopping trolleys, then it became brides pushing band members around in shopping trolleys and finally became people in animal masks pushing Jonny arond in a wheelbarrow. Not quite as exciting as ninjas and/or brides, but worked out pretty well.

One mistake I always do with super-8 is that I can't keep the camera still and keep moving it around too much...and then you get those annoying horizontal lines.

But, it is.