Only game in town

Only game in town

The Housatonic River in Northwest Connecticut had just gotten down to a wadeable level in the trouty areas in the week before the Memorial Day weekend.

Then, naturally, it rained.

In these circs. the wading angler can a) fish somewhere else b) take up another hobby c) try the stretch of the river between the dam above the Great Falls and the Falls Village hydropower facility.

Whatever is slopping over the dam is the flow. That in turn means that warmwater species can be found in the scoured out pools and runs — smallmouth bass, bluegill and what some insist are crappies and others maintain are rock bass. All I know is they are green and have bassy mouths and panfish bodies.

The footing is on smooth rock and pretty treacherous. The other day I watched casual hikers, one after another, slip and slide around. I tried to warn them. They didn’t listen.

Hardly anyone fishes here, let alone prowls the falls armed with a Tenkara rod. The competition, if any, comes from Latino guys up from Danbury and using enormous salt-water spinning rods. They tend to kill everything they catch, but they don’t catch much.

They’re cheerful and always curious about what I am doing. I try to explain it’s probably not a good idea to eat fish from this river — who wants to be the guy who grills up the one smallie that somehow ingested a chunk of PCB?

But they don’t speak much English, and my Spanish is slightly less than rudimentary.

And so the long day wears on.

So I spent the better part of a week exploring this area. I found the Lagoon of the Lost and a pool with some stranded fish in it.

I tried to catch them but they were busy setting the world record for spookiness.

I found some beer cans.

I tried a three-fly rig of Stimulator, Cahill nymph and isonychia nymph on a jig hook — on an eight-foot Tenkara rod — and it worked.

As did Momma’s Bathrobe (aka the mop fly), poppers, streamers, bushy dry flies, anything with rubber legs, and Wooly Buggers.

You could fish this river, anywhere on it, with nothing but brown Woolies in various sizes and permutations and catch something every day.

Because in the final analysis, you never really know what’s on the other end of the line around here.

Savagely Boring

Savagely Boring

“Savage Weekend” is an extremely tedious exploitation film made for about $38 in 1979. Apart from four breasts, there isn’t much here except for William Sanderson as “Otis.”

Sanderson plays the same role he always does, except usually his character is named “Cooter.”

Death by hanging, hat pin, electrocution, blunt force trauma and chain saw. Bulletin: People in upstate New York are violent goobers who listen to Jeezus radio and don’t like gay guys in their bars. Frolicking in the fields, which in the age of Lyme disease is probably a thing of the past. Long soliloquies by Cooter in a graveyard. Boat-building.

Boring. No coils. Not even Mystery Science Theater could save this.

Clockwise from top left: Gay guy mops up goobers in bar, says “Not for nothing was I brought up in the South Bronx;” Bad guy with machete trying to kill goober as Cooter approaches with chain saw; sleazy guy with cute girl in bulrushes, giving the scene a slightly Biblical feel; tempting fate by getting nekkid in a field that is probably full of ticks.
The Return of MST 3000

The Return of MST 3000

“Mystery Science Theater” is back on Netflix, and it’s pretty much the same routine as before.

That is, some very amusing commentary on bad movies and some highly irritating set pieces involving space ships and evil aliens.

The series opens with a real oddity, the 1961 “Reptilicus.” It’s the only example I know of of that rarest of genres, the “Giant Monster Destroys City — in Denmark” movie.

Priceless observations on aquariums, armaments, acidic green slime, sweat, professors, electric eels, and cheese.

Three coils.

 

peewee kissinger

Hobo-hum

Hobo-hum

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Here is the Hobo and his shotgun

 

Amazon Prime, aka The Mother Lode of Crap™, has the immortal Rutger Hauer in a 2011 straight-to-video piece of futuristic shlock called “Hobo With a Shotgun.”

Rutger is the Hobo. There’s the Drake, the criminal boss of Fuck Town and his two sadistic sons, Slick and Ivan; there’s Abby, the hooker with a heart of gold; and there are two guys dressed like scrapyard knights of yore called the Plague, for some reason.

So the boys irritate the Hobo who gets a magic shotgun that never ever requires reloading and starts cleaning up the town but the cops are corrupt too so that’s a problem and there’s some plot and lots of blood and pretty much everybody dies and if they don’t die they lose important parts of their personal bodies.

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Here are Slick (right) and Ivan. You can see why you might want to shoot them.

 

Academy Award nomination for Rutger Hauer, when he says to the blood-soaked hooker, “Lemme walk you home.”

Death by barbed-wire noose. Death by hanging with spear gun assist (times three). Death by being shot in the nads by a hobo with a shotgun and then trapped in a burning school bus — in retaliation for trapping children in a burning school bus. Glass-eating. Shamefully wasteful cocaine use.

hobo abby

Here’s Abby, before the bad guys do icky things to her

And because this is a Canadian flick, ice skates take on sinister significance.

It’s an absolutely dreadful film with gallons of gore and lots of screaming and a lot of sideways hand-held camera shots.

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These guys are called The Plague. It is never explained and nobody gives a shit.

“Hobo with a Shotgun” has no redeeming qualities except one — it’s short.

So I give it a heartfelt two coils for getting the job done, not taking too long about it, and providing for Rutger Hauer’s old age.

 

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Bumping and Grinding with the Mad Doctor

Bumping and Grinding with the Mad Doctor

 

Truly successful exploitation flicks don’t have a ton of plot, and “Mad Doctor Of Blood Island” is chock-full of scenes that have only the most tenuous connection.

Such as they all happen on the same island.

The movie does have some of the best gibberish chanting music I’ve encountered this side of a good Satan movie.

There’s a native dance sequence that owes more to Burbank than Borneo, but hey, a girl in a grass skirt is a girl in a grass skirt.

The in-shot zoom, very popular in the 1960s, is employed to great if slightly nauseating effect here, with incessant and rapid zooming used about as often as scary music.

Fuzzy and/or green zombies, nekkid girls running through the jungle, a green blood cult and the best in late 1960s leisure wear.

Even the dubbing is competent.

So settle in for an excellent 90 minutes of cheesy goodness.

Three coils.

2da24-three

Plan 9 NOT Worst Film Ever

Plan 9 NOT Worst Film Ever

 

I rewatched Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space” recently, and it is a long way from being the Worst Movie Ever Made.

Are we talking incompetence? Then I give you “Manos: The Hands of Fate.” The budget for this film couldn’t handle a belt for the star, whose pants keep falling down. (And no, it’s not for dramatic effect.)

“The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies,” in addition to having no plot, is also a musical.

And “The Terror” is completely incomprehensible from start to finish.

How about high-budget films that are awful? “Dirty Grandpa” comes to mind, with America’s greatest living actor (Robert DeNiro) mugging over mastburbation jokes.

Or the group version, “Last Vegas,” in which DeNiro and other fine actors who really should know better allow their elderly characters to be infantilized.

I review “regular” movies for a newspaper. Nine out of 10 are horrible.

When they aren’t boring, bloated, and banal, they are pretentious, preachy, and predictable.

It’s a miracle “Plan 9 From Outer Space” was made at all. Wood had no money, a dead star, and a cast for whom the term “nobodies” would be flattering.

And yet it is, in a modest manner, quite entertaining.

So what excuse do modern filmmakers offer for high-dollar dreck  like “Dirty Grandpa”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Beautiful New Guinea!

See Beautiful New Guinea!

 

 

 

 

 

The best things about Bruno Mattei’s 1980 masterpiece “Hell of the Living Dead” are the grinning zombie extras, the super cool security team, the green fog, and the little kid zombie.

The film is uncontaminated by plot but does stay true to Romero zombie tradition — the creatures must be shot in the head.

And the government is next to useless, of course.

We’re talking egregious and dismissive treatment of natives, as articulated by sleazy Italian TV news guys and unwashed hippies. Old Jeep. Kangaroo. Terrorists in the American consulate, for no apparent reason.

Humungus control panel in the mysterious scientific facility, with lots of guys in lab coats pushing buttons and saying things like “Check the number five configuration.”

Crocodile vivisection. Bad babysitting. Native funeral, with dancing and singing.

Dancing and singing at night, with cheesy synthesizer accompaniment.

Lots of barfing.

Six breasts — two western, two native and bouncing, two National Geographic rejects.

Academy award nomination to Margit Evelyn Newton (as intrepid TV reporter Lia Rousseau), who takes her top off at a particularly critical moment in the non-existent plot.

And atrocious dubbing, which always adds something.

A hearty four coil endorsement for this fine example of bad filmmaking.

 

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Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief

The Beyond is the second film in Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy, and ain’t that special.

It’s pretty gory, which caused a fuss when it was released back in the olden days (1981).

Today, however, it’s difficult to imagine what could possibly cause anything short of a snuff film to be banned, except for obvious things: racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, transism, treeism, shrubberyism, dentalstudentism…

Oh, I almost forgot Islamophobia! Boy, do I need to check my privilege.

Speaking of privilege, a dopey New York woman named Liza inherits a crappy old hotel in New Orleans and instead of selling it she decides to fix it up because it’ll be great!

Never mind the water in the basement and the dead bodies in the walls and the blind woman in the garden — it’s also a portal to the underworld.

And to severe boredom. For every eye-popping gross-out scene, there are interminable stretches of “I feel…something” and “Where is my wrench?”

It ends unhappily. But you already guessed that.

Disgusting, intermittently. Boring, constantly. Avoid, eternally.

Two coils.

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Lots of this…

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And this…

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Culminating in this…

 

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Earning this
Adventure! Excitement!

Adventure! Excitement!

I have a week off between Christmas and New Year’s, and in the spirit of adventure I am cleaning my apartment from top to bottom, getting some new furniture, and culling the piles of CDs, DVDs and books that threaten me daily.

This is exhausting work. Also dusty.

So last night I sank into the $10 transfer station couch that is going to end its 14 years of service when a new one is delivered day after tomorrow and fired up three films that are adventure stories of one sort or another.

I began with Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell. This is, the internet informs me, the last sword ‘n’ sorcery flick made by Roger Corman in Argentina.

It is also my favorite of the first three Deathstalker films. (The final two are essentially the same film and of no use to anyone.)

It is my favorite because it features character actor Thom Christopher as the evil warlock Troxartes.

John Lazar does a fine job with the similar character in number two, but Thom gets the edge because he channels Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.

To wit:

torxartes

Troxartes is simply teeming with evil here.

It also features the famous potato scene, between Deathstalker and the mother/daughter combo who live in the canyon and raise horses and potatoes. That the women are proto-Third Wave feminists goes without saying. (The hair.)

 

potato-scene

Next up was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with its rabbit jokes,  discussions of avian migration, and the endless peril. Also French taunting and the brave but somewhat delusional Black Knight.

trojan-rabbit

 

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I completed the journey from ridiculous to more ridiculous to weird and creepy and ridiculous with A Clockwork Orange, which I haven’t watched in 30 years.

It remains a disturbing film. The Ludovico Technique is particularly gruesome, as is the interior decorating at the DeLarge home.

I’d like to see someone try to make it today. I think it would ruffle a lot of feathers across the political and cultural spectrum.

The Return of Mylar Ovaltine

The Return of Mylar Ovaltine

 

Stray thoughts on “Rogue One” —

  • Would it kill the screenwriters to invent a character with a regular Earth name? “Han Solo” is about as close as you’ll ever get to “Joe Smith” in one of these things. Everyone else has a handle like “Mylar Ovaltine” or “Smarm Jazzbo” and it’s hard to keep it straight.
  • Why don’t the platforms that abound in space cities have guard rails?
  • Computer Peter Cushing was pretty good. No reason not to have a Hammer Films Dracula remake, complete with a computer Christopher Lee and a computer Ingrid Pitt.
  • Forest Whitaker was quite splendid as Don King.
  • The kung fu blind monk was excellent, and I was pleased the filmmakers stayed true to the martial arts movie tradition that only one bad guy may attack at a time.
  • The scene where the Imperial troopers are ambushed by the insurgents could have been an outtake from “American Sniper.”
  • Nice “On the Beach” moment at the end.