Monday, September 29, 2008

Zombie Strippers.

Saturday night I went and saw Zombie Strippers which I LOVED.

Yes, the acting is pretty crappy, only serves to take you to the next set piece and therefore the film feels a lot like a porno. The most you get are tits though, but you get a lot of them! Women's bodies really are great aren't they.

It's the perfect (straight) fanboy film really, there are several extended scenes of various flavours of girl pole-dancing... and then the the gore starts. The horror aspect is usually spot on, with a few disappointing CGI moments thrown in. This really irritated me because there is a lot of great special effects work here, with proper latex and goo and real-looking materials, so they knew what they were doing. However, CGI is obviously so inexpensive now that to make a head explode is far quicker and easier on a computer than on set. I understand it, but it's a shame.

The film was ace anyway, I might be going to see it again this week, in fact.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day of the Dead (2008).

I think the best way to write about this film would be to write as I watch. So, here we go...
  • Er, don't remember horny teens starting off the original?! Hey, I know this is only "loosely based" but for christ's sake keep the best bits of the 1985 version! Where's the phenomenal desolate town, the "IS ANYBODY THERE...?", the alligator and the very very slow very very cool jawless zombie? Oh man. This doesn't bode well.
  • Ving Rhames! Ahh, suddenly things are looking up.
  • "Our child is sick." Cut to pale looking little boy. Where could this possibly be leading?
  • False scares are so often really lamely done.
  • Jesus, Ian McNeice has got really fat.
  • Colorado looks pretty. I'd like to visit it someday.
  • Good first instance of gore. Okay, I'm sticking with this.
  • That "punk" extra looked like Spike from Buffy.
  • I like the premise of freezing in place while the turning happens, that is actually quite creepy and well done. The crappy CGI "showing" the biological side of the turning was pointless and jarring, however.
  • Aaaand once turned you are immediately rotting and incredibly fucking agile all of a sudden? Seriously, these things are continually leaping like fleas.
  • Right, so fast zombies I don't mind so much - they have their place and are more adrenaline-pumping scary than their slow counterparts. They aren't "canon" but I do have time for them when I'm in the right mood. This said, I have a bit of a growing hatred for the modern zombie that fucking screams and hisses and roars all of the time. That really takes the edge off of the whole undead corpse thing for me. Oh SHUT UP. If you're so rotten that your face is falling off then how have you the ability to yell so loudly? Shhhh!
  • The frenetic MTV editing is giving me a headache by 30mins in.
  • I wonder if a cough has ever been used as a scare tactic before?
  • Obligatory ventilation shaft scene.
  • Oh fuck, legless zombie Ving Rhames ******* *** *** ****** *** *** ***! (censored because it's so great I don't want to spoil it). Worth the DVD price alone.
  • "I put bleach on it." = LAME.
  • How does it work that a character knows to refer to them as "zombies", but doesn't know about only headshots taking them down?
  • That blade was way too flimsy and serrated to cut like that.
  • The wave of second floor window jumping zombies was pretty cool, I'll admit.
  • Dodgy, shit-looking CGI blood spurts.
  • One of the younger characters reminds me of a very very poor man's Shia Labeouf.
  • He-Man reference, hehe.
  • Oh no. No no no no. The Bub equivalent is a pouting, morose, vegetarian zombie called Bud. Who has sexual desires. I... I have no words.
  • More dodgy CGI...
  • If you were born in America, do you just instinctively know how to fire a gun?
  • Claustrophobic and dirty underground bunkers. That's more like it.
  • Oh god STOP ROARING.
And then it ended.

The extras on the DVD suck. Don't even bother with the "soundbites" section. It's just the actors uncomfortably answering boring questions, and extremely poorly edited.

I think the above may come across as rather more negative than I actually view this film, hmm. It was definitely watchable and I don't regret buying it. It is silly (wall and ceiling climbing zombies! Er...) and entertaining enough, unfortunately though without ever lurching into the realms of the Dawn remake of genuine scares and tension.

It's Day of the Dead very much in the loosest sense. I don't know why film makers can't just come up with their own titles and strong enough stories, so they didn't need to piggyback the classics and gain instant credibility through their name. I suppose when I put it like that, why would they put the extra work in when it's that easy? I am playing along here, so Im to blame too. Put Romero's name on something, somewhere, and I'm standing in line like a chump, money in hand. Why waste time on decent, original stories when you have a bank of ready-made fans in the wings?
Oh okay, I've stepped down from the soapbox now. I'm hardly saying anything new anyway.

Want a rating for this? Two and a half irrationally exploding zombie heads out of five. It's not so shit that you feel dirty after, but it's not so great that you feel the need to recommend it.

Cool poster though.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Skeleton arm serving forks. From here.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

choked chickens and drowned rats.

With Food Of The Gods (1976) I was expecting schlocky camp, and I got it. Unfortunately, the albeit mild animal cruelty ultimately put me right off it, boo! I feel like a right spoilsport, because the other Final Girl Film Clubbers seemed really excited by this pick... but I just cannot get excited about something that treated innocent little creatures in the way this film appeared to.

I'll do my best to review this without coming across all tree-hugging animal activist. I did like many parts of it, I'll admit.

As the film opened I was happy to see the credits play over freeze frames of action - something I had admired and found very effective in the recently watched The Devil's Rejects. However it did feel a little as though the director had access to a(n American) football field and decided to make use of it no matter what, regardless of whether it really fitted into the theme or plot of the film.

In any case, while on a hunting trip holiday on a picturesque island, our football playing hero Morgan (Marjoe Gortner) captures a deer, but being the nice fellow he is, he lets it go. His friend is angered by this and follows the deer into the woods to finish it off. He will PAY for being so disrespectful to nature, oh yes he will.

By the almighty power of rotoscoping (at least, that's what it looked like) he is attacked and horribly stung by giant wasps. The special effects on his bloated face are great, and macabre. Pity they couldn't exert such expertise on the frankly dire wasp models.

This was the only decent cap I could get. Clearly director Bert I. Gordon realised that shaky camera work was the only way to go here, and it continues throughout the film during all of the man and beast hand-to-paw combat scenes. Keep moving around and they'll never know!

The surprising thing is, at times the effects do fall outside of being just plain shit (the wasps) and so shit you kinda love them (the rat heads). Sometimes the composites really do work, as does some of the model work. The cockerel Morgan encounters and kills in the barn is actually pretty cool.

Hilarious, but cool. You have to concede that the detail in that giant reproduction of a rooster head is impressive.

I loved the way Morgan just deals with the thing and totally takes it in his stride. There's a shed full of wildfowl taller than him and he barely reacts! I'm not expecting Oscar-worthy performances here of course, I realise that acting a convincing fight scene with a giant rubber rooster head is neither easy nor dignified, but how the devil did the scene not end with him walking away uttering the words: "WHAT THE FUCKING HELL WAS THAT?!"?.

We learn that these over sized terrors are the product of some gooey looking stuff an old married couple found in their rock garden. Nice. The "food of the gods" is bubbling, thin-looking porridge which they feed to their livestock and unfortunately for everyone here on in, the local vermin also get a hold of.

The big fat maggots are RANK and made me feel sick. Crazy farmer lady (Ida Lupino) calls them worms, but they are clearly maggots. Please quickly pass the sick bag.

Sorry. So, back to the plot such as it is: The friend dies from his injuries as Morgan was too busy choking cocks in barns and nattering with lady farmers. On the ferry home, the two friends discuss his death in a disconcertingly calm manner. They decide not to tell anyone about the over sized animals they encountered. Withholding information from the authorities = always a smart move.

They find themselves returning to the island soon enough though, having been informed that their dead friend's blood was full of poison from wasp stings. At least 250 of the buggers apparently. I think the writers could have perhaps picked a larger, more shocking number than that, but then that's just me.

We are thrown a few more people we are meant to care about: a caravaning couple including a heavily pregnant lady, the "love interest" bacteriologist Lorna (Pamela Franklin) and a complete arsehole named Jack (Ralph Meeker) who is from the off the token "I can't wait for his inevitable face-chewed-off death" character.

What follows is a series of set pieces where miniature reproductions of locations are used with varying success, as are big fake rat heads. It's interesting to note that the shots of the real rats climbing over the miniature sets are just that; the rats are harmlessly sniffing and going about their business on top of toy cars and doll houses.

Cut to the close up fake furry head however, and suddenly the things are hell-bent on destruction.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh, I don't know. Normally I would revel in the bad effects and suspend my disbelief as much as necessary, but the thing is the moment I got a whiff of animal cruelty, I didn't have very much patience or time for this film.
I don't know what they used to show the rats getting shot, it looked like paint fired at them which then splatted as it hit and caused the rat to recoil or be thrown backwards. This I may have forgiven... maybe. The scenes at the end with what look like genuinely drowning rats? No effing way.

So by this point I am rooting for the critters. I know I am going to be disappointed, but I can't help it: I want the animals to win. Especially when Lorna turns to Morgan in the middle of a siege of giant homicidal rodents, and in all seriousness utters the words: "I want you to make love to me"...! I laughed, sure, but then came the realisation that I would probably rather be slowly disemboweled by vermin than have to subject myself to any more of this tosh.

The humans win, of course. Something to do with the rats being so heavy they cannot swim, so Morgan breaks open a dam and they all stand on the roof and watch the poor things drown. Oh and the "leader" albino rat makes one last valiant effort before getting his head bashed in by Morgan's shotgun. Blah blah.

The film sets itself up nicely for a sequel, with some of the porridge finding its way into the local water supply, which cows are shown drinking from and then schoolchildren are given the mutant milk. A quick look on IMDb tells me a sequel was indeed made in 1989 (it is known as Gnaw), but from what I can make out it doesn't feature giant 70s kids.

Shame, that would have been way creepy.

So in conclusion, my pesky morals and slightly overenthusiastic love of animals prohibits me from liking this film very much. That's how I roll, I'm afraid. I will willingly, gleefully witness all kinds of murder, torture and dismemberment of humans, but hurt the animals - specifically really hurt them, as I am pretty sure is in evidence here - and you've lost me. I rate my love of movies above many other things in life, but is any film worth actually hurting a living thing for? Not this one, that's for certain.