Movie Review – To The Devil a Daughter

If I ever sit down to write a list of things I have the LEAST desire to see before I die, certainly top of the list, or at least within the top five, would be seeing a bloody hand puppet of a devil baby performing cunnilingus on an 18 year old nun.  Unfortunately for me, however, I watched To The Devil a Daughter, so on my deathbed, I won’t be able to honestly utter out “at least I never had to see a bloody hand puppet of a devil baby perform cunnilingus on an 18 year old nun”.

Hmm…maybe I should have waited to share that gory detail because right now you’re either thinking to yourself “holy crap, I’m not watching that movie!  That’s gross!” or “Holy crap! A bloody hand puppet of a devil baby performs cunnilingus on an 18 year old nun!? Where can I view this movie?”  Either way, I feel I may have already skewed your thinking on To The Devil a Daughter.  So let me go back to the beginning.  There may be a few spoilers, so be forewarned.

The story is this: A priest played by the amazing Christopher Lee, along with a few of his followers, have a really long and complicated plan to bring the lord Astaroth into human form.  The plan first starts with one woman giving birth to a daughter, then promptly being killed.  The daughter, played by a very young Nastassja Kinski, is brought up as a nun in this crazy demon-worshipping church.  When she turns 18, another baby is born to a another woman (who, incidentally was impregnated by a gold-mask-wearing Christopher Lee who was acting as a stand-in for the Lord Astaroth).  This woman is also promptly killed.  This baby is all gross and demony, and supposedly, as much as I could gather is supposed to be Astaroth, but maybe not, because later on, it appears all non-demony and is then sacrificed over the nun who I think was then supposed to become Astaroth?  I’m sure you can see that this plan had way too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen…or more accurately, too many demon buns in the oven.

Right before the nun turns 18, however, her real father decides he wants to stop the evil plan, so he does what any rational parent would do.  Guess what that is.  Call the police? Nope.  Get a real priest to work some sort of anti-evil magic? Wrong again.  If you guessed convince a complete stranger who is also an author of cheesy occult novels to intervene and take care of the whole thing while the father sits cowering in a chair the whole time, BINGO, you win a cookie.

So thankfully this novelist is a real go-getter and is able to save the world from certain doom by saving the girl and also killing Christopher Lee by hurling a rock at his head from a million feet away.  Apparently writing occult novels gives you one hell of a throwing arm.  So right about now you are probably thinking, “um, excuse me, but didn’t you mention something about a bloody hand puppet of a devil baby performing cunnilingus on an 18 year old nun?”  Yes, you sicko, yes, I did.  It is in there.  But I’ll let you find out where yourself.

All in all, the premise of To The Devil A Daughter, was good.  It definitely was disturbing and creepy, albeit a little slow at times. Christopher Lee is, of course, awesome in it, and that puppet gave one hell of a performance.  I give it three bloody devil baby hand puppets out of five.

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One Minute Movie Reviews – Stupid Teenager Edition

Funhouse
Horny teenagers think it will be totally cool to jump out of the little wheelie car in the middle of the funhouse at a creepy traveling carnival, and stay the night having sex amidst the romantic backdrop of replica trees and fake skeletons. Of course, as is the case with most traveling carnivals, the son of the funhouse owner is a mutated, in-bred psycho with bat teeth. In light of this information, you can imagine how well their plan turns out. This was directed by Tobe Hooper, who directed the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I give Funhouse 4 out of 5 funnel cakes.

Hell Night
Horny teenagers spend the night in a supposedly haunted, uninhabited mansion in order to be initiated into a dumbass fraternity. As you know, the number one rule in horror movies is to not have sex in haunted, uninhabited mansions…especially if you are a teenager…and extra-especially if you are a huge teenaged douchebag… because you will die a bloody, horrible death.  Thankfully for us viewers, the fraternity members who are in fact huge teenaged douchebags, disregard this rule. This one stars Linda Blair who you may know best for spewing pea soup and spinning her head 360 degrees. I feel her performance in Hell Night would have been enhanced greatly if she actually spewed pea soup rather than just sheepishly walking around a haunted mansion with the world’s most shiniest teeth. I give Hell Night 3 out of 5 bowls of pea soup.

Friday the 13th. Okay, you’ve all seen this movie so there’s no need for me to go into a detailed description. Basically, this is the best anti-drug/anti-sex movie you could ever show your kids. You will basically ingrain into thier suggestable little minds that if they ever even think of doing drugs or having sex, Jason Voorhees, or more accurately for the first installment of the series, Jason Voorhees’ mom, will come and kill you in an unneccessarily violent way. I really don’t know why teachers and parents waste their time with boring documentaries and pamphlets when this movie already exists.  Because of this important social value, and because it is one of the most classic slasher films of all time, I give Friday the 13th 5 out of 5 severed heads.
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Thunderlips Vs. Bonesaw

Occasionally, when things are slow, I like to contemplate the great philosophical questions of the world…like why are we here? If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound? And today’s question, who would win in a wrestling match, Thunderlips or Bonesaw?

Now, there are many ways of tackling this question. You would think the natural way of looking at it would be to consider the people playing these roles. We have Hulk Hogan playing Thunderlips in Rocky III and Randy “Macho Man” Savage playing Bonesaw in Spiderman. These guys have often been pitted against each other as mortal enemies in “real life” with varying results. They also actually joined forces when Macho Man was being triple-teamed in the ring by the Hart Foundation and the Honky Tonk Man, the latter viciously smashing his guitar over Macho’s skull. The Lovely Elizabeth ran into the back producing Hulk Hogan who ran to Macho Man’s rescue thus resulting in a joining of the superpowers…the handshake heard around the world, if you will…but I digress.

Anyway, analyzing the past matches of the Hulkster and the Macho Man would, you think, be a logical way of tackling this question…but considering these were scripted matches, this wouldn’t be an accurate portrayal…for you see, now I’m about to reveal something here that might shock and upset you…wrestling is staged. I know…I know…I’ll wait until you wipe the tears of bewilderment out of your eyes before I continue. Okay, are you better now? Let’s continue…

You see, Terry Bollea, and Randy Poffo are not the ones I want to analyize. I’m totally seriously talking about Thunderlips and Bonesaw. Yes, I am aware that these are also not real people, but, I mean, people have always wondered such serious matters like who would win in a fight, Superman or The Incredible Hulk and all that stuff…why can’t I wonder about Thunderlips and Bonesaw?

So, let’s just analyze the characters. Thunderlips is the ultimate male. He comes out in grand scale, accompanied by bikini-clad ladies. He puts on a good show…he shoves Rocky Balboa when he asks about taking a Polaroid after the charity match. That’s brazen! No one shoves the Italian Stallion without repercussion…so yeah, unfortunately, Rocky throws Thunderlips over the top rope thus ending the match. Up until then he was pretty badass, but then reveals that his act was all a hoax when he poses for Polaroids with the Stallion’s dumb family and admits that the nasty act was just “the name of the game”. Boo, Thunderlips…BOO! You can only redeem yourself, at this point, by pile driving Rocky Jr. and putting Adrienne in the figure four leglock.

So, let’s move to Bonesaw. Now, granted, I haven’t seen Spiderman as many times as I have seen Rocky III because clearly, Rocky III is a far superior movie…so if my details aren’t as specific as above, I apologize. I loved Spiderman the minute I finished watching in in the theater, but upon further thought and another viewing, the only thing about Spiderman that kicked major booty for me was a scene that lasted approximately 5 minutes…that being the Bonesaw scene. Firstly, we have none other than the mighty Bruce Campbell announcing the entrance of Bonesaw into the ring, which only enhances the awesomeness of the scene. Then we have a totally differing scene as we did with a Thunderlips entrance. This ain’t no light-hearted charity event…this is a dark, dingey underground fighting arena. And here is Bonesaw…no sparkly costume…no pomp and circumstance (hahaha! I made a funny dorky WWF/Macho Man reference!)…just total KICK ASS BADASSNESS. That is Bonesaw…Badass Bonesaw McGraw who has killed every other opponent, but gets his ass kicked by Peter Parker, a twig-like dork. Okay, granted that twig-like dork was bitten by a radioactive spider thus giving him superpowers, but you know what…I wanted Bonesaw to grind him into mince meat. Boo…Bonesaw…BOO! You can only redeem yourself, at this point, by dropping a flying elbow off the top rope onto Kirsten Dunst’s stupid face.

So, each of these guys gets demolished at the end of their grand matches. So how do I decide who would win in real life? It would be one hell of a match, I tell you…this would be major Pay Per View material…like selling out the Astrodome calibre, but when all was said and done, I’d put my money on Bonesaw.

Here’s why: Thunderlips was clearly a scripted wrestler simply putting on a good show for a charity event. He let Rocky Balboa bodyslam him, which clearly is like an elephant getting bodyslammed by a ferrett. Bonesaw, however, is a true-life asswhooper making money on each defeat. Thunderlips would give him a run for his money, but unless he had a radioactive spider in his trunks, Bonesaw would devour him…or, unless one of his bikini valets ran into the back and produced Nada…then that might turn the tables a bit.

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Movie Review – Zombie Flesh Eaters

Zombie Flesh Eaters a.k.a. Ship of Zombies, a.k.a. The Ghost Galleon, is a badly dubbed Spanish movie from 1974 (El Buque Maldito) starring a whole bunch of people you probably have never heard of and never will hear of again, unless this movie is an award winner over in Spain and the actors in it have since become national heros…but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. 

This movie is actually the third in the Blind Dead series from director, Amando de Ossorio featuring a band of reanimated Templar Knights who are blind (as well as flaky and dusty) because their eyes were pecked out by birds.  Now, I don’t want to sound judgemental and all, but how hard could it possibly be to outrun some slow, dead, blind guys?  Well, as my review goes on, you will find that the ones being hunted in this particular movie have the intense handicap of crippling stupidity to grapple with, so there you go. 

So on to the “plot”.  You’ll notice the word “plot” is in quotation marks, and if I was reading this review to you in real life, I’d most definitely be making that sarcastic, eggagerated quotation mark move with my fingers. You might be disappointed to find out that a movie with such a kick ass title as Zombie Flesh Eaters,  has a very marked lack of zombies and flesh eating up until about what feels like 97 hours into the story. However, there are about 37 different shots of chicks in bikinis, so if that’s your thing, it might make up for the lack of the former.

The story is this: two models are hired for a publicity stunt by a sporting goods mogul. They are to be stuck at sea in one of his sporty boats and found by someone unsuspecting and this is supposed to bring fame and notoriety to this guy’s sporting goods. I still can’t figure out why being stuck in this boat would be a good thing for his products’ reputation.  It would actually be a clear sign that his boats are pretty shitty.  So anyway, the whole operation is supposed to be hush hush…so hush hush that one of the models fails to tell her lesbian lover where she is so she goes prodding and gets entangled in this huge espionage-like debacle in which she gets unreasonably detained like a prisoner in a bikini and you can’t help but wondering why on earth all of this is necessary for sporting goods.  I’m not one to diminish the importance of sporting goods, but come on now.

Anyway, the group of super-secret-sporting goods spies consisting of the sporting goods dude, his paid henchman, the modeling agency leader and the lesbian lover bikini prisoner lose contact with the two models in the boat who are really seriously stuck and come across a super-old ghost galleon and think its a great idea to go on it. So, the spy squad now also inexplicably joined by some scientist who pretty much should be called the nutty professor, go on a rescue mission to find the models and the ghost ship. They find the ghost ship and the models’ empty boat, and decide to go find the models on the ghost ship. I am sure you can see how all of this was a bad idea from the start. I am also sure how you can see that there is still a blatant lack of zombies and flesh eating. Those things finally appeared when the second model decides to go look for her model buddy on the ghost ship. Unbeknowingst to her, but knowingst to us because, afterall, the movie is called Zombie Flesh Eaters, there are coffins filled with the undead corpses of templar knights out to suck blood residing in the lower portion of the galleon.

Now the zombies themselves weren’t so much zombies as they were a cross between the Crypt Keeper and a really good grim reaper costume from Party City. They were kind of creepy looking, but honestly, I wasn’t buying them grabbing and pulling the people into the lower part of the ship with their bare hands and ripping flesh off of their bones because honestly, they didn’t have much muscle tone to do that with, and are they really eating the flesh? I can’t imagine they have any intestines left in their dusty bodies…but I digress…

So, two dumb models down, another dumb model, dumb modeling agent, dumb sporting goods mogul, dumb sporting goods sidekick, and dumb nutty professor to go. So when the world’s worst rescue group boards the galleon, their own boat promptly disappears into an other dimension. I’m not kidding you…that is actually the explanation given by the nutty professor. Come on now. You’re asking alot of me to beleive the rest of this movie up until now, but this is a little unreasonable. I mean, reanimated templar knights floating around in a ghost ship surviving on the blood of what has to be the rare jerk stupid enough to board this ship…that’s one thing, but the words “zombie flesh eater” and “disappeared into another dimension” should never be used in the same movie….ever…unless it is Army of Darkness, but those were Deadites, not zombies, and clearly there is a big difference…eh-hem.

Anyway, they are all trapped on a ghost ship in another dimension, and there are flesh eating crypt keepers running amok, so you know it all ends well, right?

Honestly, it might sound like I am panning the movie…well, okay, I am, but I love these types of movies for their crappiness. You’re not going to get the crap scared out of you, but it is an amusing watch if you’re like me, and love cheesy horror and the Crypt Keeper.

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Sympathizing with the Monster

Frankenstein’s Monster is such a tragic character. I have always had such sympathy for him, in practically all his incarnations, but perhaps the one I am most sympathetic with is Boris Karloff’s movie version.

Think about it…the Monster, while being frightening-looking in most views, is nothing but a child. Dr. Frankenstein says it himself in the movie: “This body is not dead…this body has not yet lived”. He created this body, and consequently this life, by assembling it through various bodies he had stolen, and animated it through electricity. Sure, he mistakenly gave the body a criminal brain, but it was a fresh new life he created, like giving birth to a new living being.

After realizing that his creation is not perfect because of its violent outburst that results from its fear of fire, the doctor chains the Monster up and essentially forgets about him. It is the doctor’s irresponsibity…his refusal to take responsibility for the life he created, that is the true fault behind what is done by, and what becomes of the Monster.

What sort of parent would turn his or her newborn child out into the world without first teaching everything from speaking and walking to right from wrong? A young child doesn’t know you aren’t supposed to throw another child into a lake like a plucked daisy, and neither does Frankenstein’s Monster…only difference being a small child wouldn’t be physically able to do so.

When Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley first wrote the novel that would eventually become the franchise that is Frankenstein, it was subtitled The Modern Prometheus. Prometheus was one of the Greek Titans who enraged Zeus by stealing fire from the Gods and presenting it to human beings. Before this gift, humans were nothing but essentially stupid, animated lumps of clay, but with the power of fire came knowledge of how to do things for themselves. The gift of fire is usually essentially equated with the gift of knowledge and life. Out of vengeance, Zeus created Pandora, who married Prometheus’ brother…and we all know Pandora’s claim to fame. By opening the infamous box (or jar), she unleashed evil upon the world.

Dr. Frankenstein exclaims “Now I know how it feels to be God” once he realizes his experiment has worked and his creation is alive. He is Prometheus bestowing new life upon what had previously been nothing, and he becomes his own Pandora when he fails to take responsibility for what he has done.

Now, the Monster in Mary Shelley’s novel is much more “sophisticated” in many ways than the Monster of the movies. He learns to read and write while off on his own, and unleashes a conscious and willing vengeance upon the doctor like you wouldn’t believe (stalking the doctor to all ends of the earth, killing his wife, etc).

It is Karloff’s childlike, unsophisticated Monster who tugs at my sympathetic heartstrings. How can one not feel sympathy for the huge beast as he is mercilessly teased with a torch of fire by the creepy little hunchback assistant, Fritz? (But HA! Fritz get’s his when he makes the Monster angry enough, doesn’t he?) How can you not think “aaawhh!” when the Monster cracks an innocent, child-like smile when the little girl, Maria, takes his hand and presents him with a daisy. Okay, sure she is repaid with a toss into the lake, but we realize that the Monster didn’t intend to harm the little girl. And how can you not secretly root for the Monster when he goes after Dr. Frankenstein’s fiance on their wedding day? It was her, afterall, who the doctor had been spending all of his time with while the Monster was off forgotten.

Perhaps one of the most disheartening scenes in the movie is one of the final scenes…where the Monster is trapped inside an old windmill where he had brought Dr. Frankenstein after being chased by the villagers. Dr. Frankenstein is dropped from the top of the windmill’s body, bounces off of one of the spindles, and then falls to the ground. The villagers promptly set fire to the windmill, and the last we see of the Monster, he is wailing pitifully, being engulfed with fire…the element he so fears, which really was the element that initially gave him life (for essentially, electricity is fire).

In the final scene of the movie, we see that the “good” Doctor actually survived his ordeal, and we are left with an image of his father drinking an expensive glass of wine, toasting the “son of the house of Frankenstein”…and we are left thinking…”that BASTARD!”…or at least I am.

Why am I so sympathetic to a monster in a movie? Am I the only one? Maybe it is because, like I have said, the Monster is just a big child, hungry for affection and knowledge, turned out into a cruel world with no guidance by the very one who is, in all intents and purposes, his father?

Or maybe it is because we all can see a bit of ourselves in the Monster. Who of us have never been turned away by someone who should take care of us or love us? Whether it be a friend, a parent, a significant other, a family member, what have you…we all recognize that look of despair in the mangled visage of the Monster’s face…we recognize the glimmer of hope in kindness in the smile sparked by Maria’s flower…we understand the deep-seated desire for revenge.

We have all been discarded and forgotten at one point in our lives…all the more hurtful when it is done by someone who has added to your life in some way. When you have spent a part of your life with someone, you collect pieces of their lives…you become assembled of their world in a way…like the Monster…and then you are rejected, sent out into the world with nothing left but pieces of what you used to be sewn onto you like a corpse’s used arm or a criminal’s discarded brain.

We have all been the Monster in some form or another, and it has made us angry…it has made us want to flail our arms wildly around and terrorize the one who did this to us…so we sympathize with the Monster…we forgive him his transgressions of tossing the little girl into the lake because he thought she was as beautiful and gentle as a daisy…we forgive him for beating down that little bastard Fritz for waving a lit torch in front of his face. We probably actually are secretly pleased when he tosses Dr. Frankenstein’s body off of the windmill, because most of us never got the chance to toss the body of the person that did us wrong off of any sort of edifice.

We are the Monster…the underdog…the forgotten child…we want to kick the shit out of all the Dr. Frankensteins of our world…so its more than natural to root for the Monster doing it for us on the silver screen. Perhaps its even cathartic, in a way…anything that keeps us from chucking little girls into a lake is a good thing.

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If you believe Frankenstein’s Monster was framed, Han shot first because Greedo deserved it, and Macho Man got the crap end of the stick in the war of the Mega Powers, then welcome, my child…you are in the right place.

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